The departure of Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet from the newly-merged Yoox Net-a-Porter doesn’t seem to be holding the luxury e-tailer back. The latest evidence of this is that Dubai’s Alabbar Enterprises has paid €100m for a 4% stake.
That’s an almost-6% premium on the price the shares closed at yesterday and values the firm at a whopping €3.744bn.
So why is the owner of the world’s most-visited luxury mall, the Dubai Mall (if you have a vision of Middle Eastern malls as semi-empty, then think again) buying into the world’s biggest luxury fashion retailer?
Well, YNaP wants to have a greater presence in Middle Eastern countries and Alabbar obviously wants to be part of this, rather than being a company that suffers from YNaP’s expansion.
YNaP itself wants cash to develop an integrated platform across the e-tail giant’s brands, and to fund website localisation.
The multi brand e-tailer is also expanding with more mono brand sites for other luxury names. It already operates e-stores for Marni, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Lanvin.
The more news flow that comes out of YNaP, the more the Yoox and NaP merger look like being the right decision. Massenet and others who were in NaP at the start may have justifiable concerns over the price Richemont got from Yoox for the business, but there’s no denying that the merged company is the driving force in luxury e-tail.
For now that is. The reborn Style.com is yet to launch (I thought it was supposed to have happened by now) so there’s still everything to play for. And of course, luxury retailers are also going it alone in selling their brands online. Frame Denim is the latest upscale label to launch its own store. Others are planning a move into availability on more multibrand sites (Prada is planning a deep dive into e-commerce this way) but with this expansion will come more competition for YNaP. Looks like there’s still everything to play for.