Farfetch hit Wall Street with a bang today.
Shares of the luxury e-commerce platform shot up more than 42 percent to $28.45 in the issue’s first few minutes of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The initial offering, at a higher-than-expected $20 a share, and the subsequent run-up in trading gave Farfetch a valuation of more than $8 billion.
Clearly, investors remain very interested in the intersection of luxury and e-commerce. The response also underscored the importance of platforms. Farfetch’s marketplace caters to 2.3 million consumers and 980 sellers, making it a real player with scale in the luxury space — where high ticket prices lead to big sales dollars even with a relatively small base of shoppers.
At $20 a share, the offering raised a total of $885 million — $672 million of which went to the firm directly and will be used for general corporate purposes and potentially acquisitions.
Founder José Neves did not sell any stock in the offering, retaining all of the firm’s 42.8 million Class B shares, valued at more than $1.2 billion after the stock’s early increase. Board member Natalie Massenet also held on to her 299,010 shares.
Others did take the opportunity to cash out some of their holdings.
Advent Private Equity fund raised $54.6 million in the offering, while Farhold (Luxembourg) sold $49 million in stock, Browns Holdings (U.K.) sold $47.2 million and DST Global IV offloaded $44.2 million.
Behind Neves, the biggest stock holder is Kadi Group — an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, which pumped $397 million into Farfetch in June 2017. Kadi is listed as owning 42.4 million Class A shares, valued at $1.2 billion.
The JD-Farfetch investment, as well as interest in the offering by Artemis, the investment arm of the Pinault family, which controls Kering, shows that the business of selling luxury goods online is growing to become an interconnected web, with platforms forging alliances and brand owners jumping into to not get lost in the mix.
Farfetch is now a much more high-profile player in the web and will be under the close watch of investors, who clearly love the company today but can just as quickly change their hearts tomorrow.