LONDON — Could Net-a-porter Group be on the block once again, a little more than three years after Compagnie Financière Richemont purchased it?
On Wednesday, Yoox.com denied it was in talks with Richemont about a merger with, or acquisition of, Net-a-porter. It was seeking to quash reports in the Italian press that a deal was in the works.
However, earlier this year, Yoox was indeed in talks to acquire Net-a-porter as part of its efforts to expand the business, according to industry sources.
Federico Marchetti, the founder and chief executive officer of Yoox, which is quoted on the Milan Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of 1.43 billion euros, or $1.94 billion at current exchange, reiterated later in the day that no talks were currently taking place.
He told WWD on Wednesday: “Yoox is a global brand and as such it obviously grows not only through internal lines, but it often examines dossiers about possible acquisitions. As I have already said, at the moment there are no negotiations taking place with Richemont.”
Although Yoox has a full-price business and operates e-commerce sites for a slew of brands including Emporio Armani, Valentino and Jil Sander, its core offer is past seasons’ designer goods. Net-a-porter, with its full-price luxury merchandise for women as well as its Mr Porter site for men, would have rounded out the Yoox picture.
Talks between the two companies broke down — industry sources said Net-a-porter’s founder and executive chairman Natalie Massenet didn’t want to sell to Yoox — although speculation persists that the London-based e-tailer is for sale.
Spokesmen for Richemont and Net-a-porter declined to comment Wednesday.
As reported last month, Richemont has quietly put Lancel up for sale, and hired Nomura to find a buyer. Earlier this year, Richemont founder and chairman Johann Rupert, who is currently on a year’s sabbatical, told analysts that the company needed to “cull” its bad investments quicker, although he did not give any specifics.
In the spring of 2010, Richemont acquired the shares that it did not already own in Net-a-porter in a deal valuing the luxury retailer at 350 million pounds, or $532 million at current exchange.
While Net-a-porter was by no means a bad investment — industry observers speculate that Richemont could flip the Web site today for three times that figure — it is a rapidly growing company, and e-commerce is far from Richemont’s core business.
It is also rapidly expanding into new businesses in the editorial and social media space: Last month, Net-a-porter revealed the launch of The Netbook, a new mobile app to create a social network of users sharing their favorite products on the site.
In February, the site will launch Porter, a consumer title to be published six times a year, and have a global distribution at newsstands and via subscription. Its pages will be transactional via mobile phone and via an app, built in-house. Content is being produced by a dedicated team, with contributions from Net-a-porter’s free, weekly online magazine, The Edit.
Richemont does not break out Net-a-porter’s sales, but in its latest five-month trading update, the luxury group said the e-tailer notched double-digit growth in the first five months of the current fiscal year.
According to the latest figures filed at Companies House, the official register of businesses in the U.K., in the year to March 31, 2012, Net-a-porter Group posted turnover of 368.1 million, or $589 million at average exchange for the 12 months, and losses of 15.8 million, or $25.3 million.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews