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Richemont Drops $3.3 Billion Bid to Have Full Control Over Yoox Net-a-Porter Group [Updated]

The Swiss luxury conglomerate is buying what shares it doesn't already own.
Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Less than a week ago, we reported more milestone-hitting news for Yoox Net-a-Porter Group (YNAP), the luxury e-commerce conglomerate that formed in October 2015: The company saw its revenues grow nearly 12 percent to roughly $2.5 billion (€2.1 billion) in 2017, putting it on track to outpace the online luxury market through 2020. It comes as no surprise, then, that the very same luxury market that YNAP is already outperforming would want a piece of the sales pie, and a hefty one at that. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

On Monday, Geneva-based luxury conglomerate Richemont, which owns and manages such brands as Azzedine Alaïa, Cartier and Chloé, announced that it put in a bid to buy what YNAP shares it doesn't already own, about 50 percent of the company, for €38 per share. Richemont is already YNAP's largest shareholder, but the offer still puts what Business of Fashion notes is an impressive, almost 26 percent premium over YNAP's Friday closing price on the Milan Bourse, Italy's stock exchange, of €30.26 per share. In all, that comes out to a €2.7 billion, or about $3.3 billion, deal. Not too shabby.

Nothing's official yet until it's approved by the current YNAP shareholders, but in a statement, CEO Federico Marchetti appeared excited by the prospect, saying:

The success of YNAP is built on an exceptional team. I'm proud that Richemont has expressed its strong appreciation for the quality of our management and our people.

As a passionate entrepreneur, I remember with pride the hard work and excitement of YOOX's IPO in 2009, when we listed our shares at just over €4 and total revenues were around €150 million.

It was always my dream to create something much bigger. This became possible through the combination of YOOX and NET-A-PORTER in 2015, a vision shared with Richemont.

The hard work of our combined teams created the world leader in online luxury, reaching over €2 billion in revenues in just a couple of years.

I am very grateful to everyone who made it all possible.

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According to a release, YNAP will continue to be operated as a separate company within the Richemont portfolio, continuing to provide a platform "for all luxury brands," even those outside of Richemont's ownership.

UPDATE, May 10, 8:15 a.m.: A large majority of YNAP shareholders have agreed to Richemont's bid on Thursday, according to WWD. This agreement will allow the Geneva-based luxury conglomerate to secure an over-95 percent stake of, as well as full control over, the newly-merged online retailer. Once the deal is complete, YNAP will be delisted from the Milan Stock Exchange.

"Yoox Net-a-Porter powered by Richemont will be truly unbeatable," said Federico Marchetti, founder of Yoox and chief executive officer of YNAP, in an official statement provided for WWD. "Our solid track record of growth has made us number one in online luxury. Together with Richemont, we will invest even more in product, technology, logistics, people and marketing. We will accelerate our global growth and guarantee YNAP’s long-term leadership."

UPDATE, May 17, 8:35 a.m.: Upon the completion of Richemont's takeover bid, YNAP will plan to delist on June 20, reports WWD. On Friday, shareholders of 38 euros per YNAP share will be paid a total of 2.46 billion euros in cash. Richemont will also release its annual results on that same day.

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