After being announced in March, the deal to merge Yoox and Net-a-Porter into one luxury e-commerce giant, is done. At midnight on Monday, the now-named Yoox Net-a-Porter Group began trading on Milan's stock exchange. As of 9 a.m. EST, shares are up 5.45 percent to €25.59 ($33.19). Shares also rose in Richemont, which now owns 50 percent of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group shares.
"Our combined force is staggering, our future potential extraordinary," Federico Marchetti, CEO of the new Group, said in a statement. Now that Net-a-Porter founder and chairwoman Natalie Massenet has left the company, Marchetti leads the company on his own, though as of Monday, he has named former Net-a-Porter President Alison Loehnis president of the Net-a-Porter Group. She will report directly to him.
While it doesn't seem to be a dramatically different role from the one she was in before, the promotion sounds like Marchetti's way of replacing Massenet, albeit with a less powerful role than Massenet would have held. Loehnis is now responsible for overseeing Net-a-Porter.com, MrPorter.com, TheOutnet.com and Porter magazine.
Loehnis, more of a behind-the-scenes girl than Massenet, has been with Net-a-Porter since 2007, and is credited with introducing both the beauty and activewear categories, as well as negotiating Chanel's first foray into e-commerce. Some of the main concerns around Massenet's departure from the company have been that her longtime employees might follow her out, or that Net-a-Porter's relationships with certain brands might weaken. That Loehnis, who has worked alongside Massnet for years, is committed to staying on board, is a good sign.
No doubt, this merger results in an e-commerce juggernaut that's pretty tough to beat, with Net-a-Porter's leadership as an online shopping destination for luxury brands, and Yoox's strength in powering the individual e-commerce sites of luxury brands, from Valentino to Moncler. Sure, Massenet's departure may raise some questions about the former, but competitors — from Matchesfashion.com to Farfetch, which recently got into the business of powering brands' sites — should beware.