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Yoox Eyes First Half ’09 for IPO

Yoox Group, the Bologna, Italy-based Internet retailer, said Thursday that it plans to go public in the first part of 2009.

Yoox Group, the Bologna, Italy-based Internet retailer, said Thursday that it plans to go public in the first part of 2009.

The company has hired Eidos Partners to be the financial adviser for the initial public offering planned for the Milan Stock Exchange. Eidos has listed five companies on the exchange in the last three years.

Yoox Group sells out-of-season merchandise from designers such as Prada, Gucci, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Marni and Chloé on yoox.com. Sales gained 38.5 percent to $134 million in 2007 compared with the previous year and operating profits tripled. The company said those growth trends continued in the first quarter of 2008.

Founded in 2000 by Federico Marchetti, who is chief executive officer, Yoox Group operates in 53 countries and has almost 4 million visitors a month. The company last year delivered more than a million items to customers around the world.

Discounted designer apparel, shoes, accessories and jewelry are not the full extent of Yoox’s offerings. Yoox.com stocks vintage clothing and special collections made specifically for the online store. A Christian Dior vintage sale this month will feature expensive museum-quality dresses and jewelry as well as items at more accessible prices.

Yoox.com’s collaborations include Hussein Chalayan’s men’s wear collection and Margherita Missoni’s $640 bracelet for Yoox, which benefits OrphanAid Africa.

In addition to yoox.com, Yoox Group develops and runs e-commerce sites for Diesel, Emporio Armani, CP Company and Valentino. The company calls the monobrand sites “powered by Yoox” business. The newest powered by Yoox property is thecorner.com, which is designed like a high-end department store with corners for designers such as Marc Jacobs, Veronique Branquinho, Viktor & Rolf, Etro, Bernard Willhem and Jas. M.B. The goal of the site is to bring niche brands previously available in limited locations to a wider public.

Yoox is owned on a fully diluted basis by three investors, who hold a total of 58.2 percent, as well as Marchetti, 8.1 percent; the management team through stock options, 21.7 percent, and 30 private investors, who hold 12 percent. Marchetti said Yoox Group will continue to invest in innovation for its e-commerce platform and identifying and penetrating new markets.

“We’ll concentrate on the strength and creativity of our team, whose average age is 30 — young people who’ve developed a unique skill set,” he said.