LONDON — Compagnie Financière Richemont has denied the Net-a-porter Group is for sale.
The denial follows a front-page story in WWD on Thursday that quoted sources as saying that earlier this year Richemont was in talks to sell the e-tailer to Yoox Group.
“Richemont has a long-standing policy of not commenting on market rumors,” Richemont said. “Exceptionally in this case, Richemont wishes to make it clear that the Net-a-porter Group is not for sale.”
Earlier this week, Yoox issued a statement denying 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.
Yoox founder Federico Marchetti later told WWD: “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.”
Industry sources told WWD that Yoox was in merger and acquisitions talks earlier this year with Net-a-porter as part of its efforts to expand the business. On Wednesday, spokesmen for Richemont and Net-a-porter declined to comment on the speculation.
Speculation has been rife about disposals at Richemont since May when the company’s founder and chairman Johann Rupert told analysts that the company needed to “cull” its bad investments quicker, although he did not give any specifics.
Richemont has already appointed Nomura Securities to sell its Lancel division, and sources say other companies in its soft luxury portfolio may already have a “for sale” sign tacked onto them. Richemont has declined to comment on Lancel and other speculation.