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Luxury giant takes full ownership of Net-a-Porter

Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont has moved to take full ownership of e-commerce company Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP).

Nearly three years after Richemont merged Net-a-Porter with Italian rival Yoox, the company has made a public tender offer to buy the shares in YNAP it does not already own, equivalent to half of the company.

It is offering for €38 (US$46.50) a share, nearly €8 above Friday’s YNAP closing price.

YNAP chief executive Federico Marchetti says he is receptive to the bid, and YNAP has waived a clause in its shareholder documents that would have prevented Richemont and any affiliates from buying more shares in the company.

Richemont says it plans to continue to running YNAP as a separate company, Business of Fashion reports.

“Thanks to our long-term commitment and resources, 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,” says Richemont chairman Johann Rupert.

Marchetti says the rationale for the investment is to build on YNAP’s solid track record of growth. “This means investing even more in product, technology, logistics, people and marketing.”

In its latest preliminary results, the company revealed it had surpassed €2 billion in net revenues, up nearly 12 per cent year-over-year, and that more than half of its sales in the year came from mobile devices for the first time. Full results will be released in March.

Meanwhile, Richemont saw its sales for the year ending last March decline 4 per cent to €10.7 billion.

“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,” says Rupert.

“Nearly 20 years after inventing Yoox, YNAP’s magic excites me even more,” says Marchetti. “The prospect of no longer owning 4 per cent 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.”

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