In breaking fashion news, it has been confirmed that French luxury conglomerate Richemont, the owner of luxury brands like Cartier, Jaeger–LeCoultre and IWC Schaffhausen, has sold its controlling stake (50.7%) in online fashion retailer YOOX Net-A-Porter (YNAP) to luxury e-commerce retailer, Farfetch and Symphony Global.
The sale, which will equate to an approximate £2.28 billion Richemont writedown related to the deal, was a result of an “unprofitable ecommerce operation” and gives rise for Farfetch to acquire the remaining shares.
The Business of Fashion reported that that Farfetch will acquire 47.5% from Richemont while Symphony Global – one of the investment vehicles of Emirati businessman/Dubai Mall developer Mohamed Alabbar – will acquire the remaining 3.2% stake in YNAP. In an official statement, Farfetch CEO Jose Neves said,
“This investment and work we will do with Farfetch Platform Solutions for YNAP will pave the way to a potential acquisition by Farfetch, which would create a complementary portfolio of iconic luxury destinations, appealing to different demographics, price points and regions.”
Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, added: “Today’s announcement is a significant step towards the realisation of a dream I first voiced in 2015 of building an independent, neutral online platform for the luxury industry that would be highly attractive to both luxury brands and their discerning clientele.”
“We knew back then that if we wished to control our own destiny and protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry as it was digitalised, we would need to collaborate as the task was too big to undertake on our own.”
Fashion activists identified Yoox Net-a-Porter as an “unprofitable distraction” for Richemont, who’s brands like Cartier and Van Clef & Arpels make up a majority of its profits. Whilst Richemont had made every effort to invest heavily in the future of YNAP over the years, an operating loss of 210 million euros in the fiscal year to March made it very clear what was needed to be done.
Watch this space as this story continues to unfold.