Retail

Yoox Net-A-Porter Makes A Major Move On The Middle East

According to reports surfacing in The New York Times this morning (April 19) Yoox Net-a-Porter will be selling a 100 million euro ($113 million) stake to Alabbar Enterprises.

Yoox Net-a-Porter refers to itself as the “world’s biggest luxury fashion store." Alabbar Enterprises is based jointly in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and owns Emaar Properties, which itself operates the Dubai Mall, the world’s most-visited luxury shopping mall.

“The world’s biggest online retailer is joining forces with the world’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer,” Federico Marchetti, chief executive of Yoox Net-a-Porter, said in a call from Milan.

Alabbar, currently under the control of Mohamed Alabbar, will pay €28 ($31.86) a share, a premium of 5.7 percent on the closing share price of Yoox Net-a-Porter on April 18. All in, the equity deal values Yoox Net-a-Porter at approximately €3.744 billion (approximately $4.2 billion). Richemont, the former parent of Net-a-Porter, will remain the group’s largest shareholder; Alabbar will have 4 percent of ordinary shares.

The move also goes some distance to confirm that Yoox Net-a-Porter has a future without founder Natalie Massenet, who unexpectedly resigned from the firm shortly after the Yoox merger and Marchetti's ascension. Some questioned if Marchetti could match Massenet's clout within the fashion world.

That question for now has been answered by the additions of Moncler and Brunello Cucinelli to the brands sold on Net-a-Porter, as well as the new deal in the Middle East — a region that itself has big ideas about luxury's future.

Investcorp, based in Bahrain, bought the Danish silver brand Georg Jensen for $140 million in 2012. Mayhoola for Investments, (based in Qatar), bought the Valentino fashion brand for $850 million. The Qatar Investment Authority has a stake in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, as well as Tiffany & Company.

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