MILAN - Compagnie Financière Richemont has launched a voluntary tender offer on all ordinary shares of the Yoox Net-a-porter Group SpA at 38 euros per share, for a value of up to 2.77 billion euros. Richemont plans to acquire 51 percent of YNAP shares it does not already own.“With this new step, we intend to strengthen Richemont’s presence and focus on the digital channel, which is becoming critically important in meeting luxury consumers’ needs," said Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont. "We see a meaningful opportunity to strengthen further Yoox Net-a porter Group’s leading positioning in luxury e-commerce, growing the business in existing and new geographies, increasing product availability and range, and continuing to develop unparalleled services and content for today’s highly discerning consumers. As part of our Group, Yoox Net-a-porter Group would continue to operate as a separate business, ensuring it remains a neutral and highly attractive platform for third party luxury brands.”On Monday morning following the announcement, Richemont shares were broadly flat at 90.16 Swiss francs, while shares in YNAP surged 24.3 percent to 37.60 euros.Federico Marchetti, founder of Yoox and chief executive office of YNAP, said this marked a "historic event" for the luxury e-tailer.Richemont, already YNAP's largest shareholder, "explained that the rationale for the investment is to build on YNAP’s solid track record of growth," said Marchetti. "Richemont aims to provide additional resources that further strengthen and accelerate YNAP’s long-term leadership in online luxury. This means investing even more in product, technology, logistics, people and marketing. YNAP will continue to be managed as a separate company, providing a neutral and highly attractive platform for all luxury brands. 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 euros and total revenues were around 150 million. euros."Marchetti said it had always been his "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 euros in revenues in just a couple of years. I am very grateful to everyone who made it all possible. Nearly 20 years after inventing Yoox, YNAP’s magic excites me even more. The prospect of no longer owning 4 percent of the share capital does not change my entrepreneurial commitment to YNAP. Dreaming and innovating to the benefit of our customers has always been my motivation; it will remain so in the years to come.”The public tender offer will be made through the special-purpose vehicle RLG Italia Holding S.p.A. a company that is in the process of being incorporated. It will be entirely owned indirectly by Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A.“As the digital channel becomes increasingly critical to engage with customers in the luxury industry, Richemont intends to further strengthen its commitment to this channel, ensuring it remains a neutral and highly attractive platform for third party luxury brands," Richemont said, noting that YNAP would continue to be run as a separate business in the Richemont stable. YNAP’s headquarters will continue to be in Italy.If the deal goes through, the intention is to de-list YNAP from the Milan Stock Exchange.
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