The site is currently owned by Richemont, which bought the then-Natalie Massenet-owned business only three years ago. But according to the trade, it could sell for as much as three times the amount Richemont bought it for. (Richemont reportedly paid over $300 million for the e-tailer in 2010.)
Yesterday, Yoox squashed rumors that it was in talks to acquire Net-a-Porter--not that it couldn't happen. A merger of some sort between the two could make sense given that Yoox's past-season, discounted designer goods business could complement NAP's current-season and menswear businesses. Yoox's biggest business, though, is handling the back-end of e-commerce sites for a ton of big luxury companies, including Armani and almost all Kering brands. So the synergies are multiple.
Net-a-Porter does seem to be in expansion mode--particularly into channels beyond e-commerce, such as editorial--including weekly online magazine The Edit, and a forthcoming print magazine which the trade reports is named Porter--and new mobile technology. Since e-commerce and tech innovation are not exactly the luxury goods firm's areas of expertise, that could be why Richemont is looking to unload. There have also been rumors, as of late, that Richemont is looking to offload its fashion brands, too, which include Chloe and Azzedine Alaia. It's strength is in "hard luxury"—that means fine jewelry—and the conglomerate seems to want to refocus.
Net-a-Porter has yet to comment on the speculation.
UPDATE: Compagnie Financière Richemont has officially denied the rumor that Net-a-Porter is for sale.
“Richemont has a long-standing policy of not commenting on market rumors,” the holding company told WWD. “Exceptionally in this case, Richemont wishes to make it clear that the Net-a-porter Group is not for sale.”