If WWD is correct in its prediction that 2016 will be a big year for fashion acquisitions and mergers, here's a starting point: Hudson's Bay Company, the Toronto-based owner of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, announced Thursday that it is purchasing the flash sales site Gilt for $250 million in cash. Rumors of the deal, which is expected to close by Feb. 1, surfaced last month, though both Gilt and HBC declined to comment at that point.
So what does Gilt bring to the table? For one, it will bulk up HBC's digital business; in particular, Gilt has "tremendous potential" to flesh out the company's mobile and personalization technology, HBC CEO Jerry Storch says in a statement. And HBC has plans to integrate Gilt, which trades in short-lived deals, with Saks Off 5th, the designer discount offshoot of Saks Fifth Avenue. (HBC acquired Saks in July 2013.) That will include allowing Gilt customers to return merchandise at Saks Off 5th stores and adding Gilt shop-in-shops to Saks Off 5th locations.
Deals on deals on deals, clearly, and here's one more: that $250-million sticker price compared to Gilt's $1-billion valuation in 2011, when its hype was still on the up and up.
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