Woah. Net-a-Porter, the leader in online luxury and high-fashion sales, has been acquired by Richemont, the world's second-largest luxury goods firm after LVMH. (PPR is also bigger than Richemont, but it's not purely luxury brands.)
Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet will sell her 18% share of the company to Richemont. (She's set to make Ã‚Â£50 million, or $75 million, on the deal.) Other investors are doing the same. (In the end Richemont--who already owned 30%--will own 70% of Net-a-Porter.)
This is great news for Massenet, who is credited with making the Web a viable place to purchase luxury goods. But it's also a boon to Richemont. Last year, rival LVMH shuttered its eLuxury retail site, essentially admitting death by the hand of Net-a-Porter.
Controlling the successful brand offers Richemont the chance to one-up LVMH. Earlier this year, it was rumored Richemont was looking at Prada join its stable of high-end fashion labels (including Chloe and Alaia). Currently, the Swiss company is better-known for its jewelry and watch brands, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and IWC.
Net-a-Porter's 2009 sales were $122 million.