The board of Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP) has voted unanimously to approve the €38 per share takeover offer from luxury group Richemont, in a move which edges the takeover closer to completion.
Richemont, which is already the largest shareholder in the group (owning almost 49% of total share capital), announced its bid to acquire all of its remaining share capital, including the almost 4% held by CEO Federico Marchetti, in January. The group was previously the largest shareholder in the Net-A-Porter Group and instigated the merger of the luxury online retailer with listed Italian group Yoox in 2015.
The vote from the YNAP board, which took place yesterday (16 March), follows on from the approval for the deal granted earlier this week from Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Consob), the regulator of the Italian stock exchange where YNAP is listed.
Consob’s approval means the offer will now run from 19 March to 9 May and could be reopened from 21 May to 25 May. If fully taken up, the bid will have a total value of €2.69bn.
So far only one shareholder is known to have expressed opposition to the deal, US investor Robotti & Co, which has contested the valuation and said it did not see the deal as being “synergistic”. However, Robotti is believed to control less than 1% of shares.
Other shareholders in the group include Diesel founder Renzo Rosso (3.8%), YNAP’s Middle Eastern joint venture partner Mohammed Al Rashad Alabbar (2.6%) and institutional investors Schroders (2.6%), T Rowe Price Associates (2.6%) and Capital Research and Management Company (2.1%).
Swiss group Richemont is the parent of luxury brands including Chloé, Dunhill, Cartier and Azzedine Alaia. Its decision to further its investment in e-commerce follows on from the move by fellow luxury brand house LVMH to launch multi-brand ecommerce last year via its 24 Sèvres platform, which is essentially an online manifestation of its luxury department store Le Bon Marché in Paris.
24 Sèvres sells a range of LVMH luxury brands – this week it became the only multi-brand site to sell LVMH-owned Céline online – but also many non-LVMH brands. Richemont has pledged that YNAP will remain a separately run business “providing a neutral and highly attractive platform for all luxury brands.”
YNAP recently revealed its year-end figures for 2017, which showed that total group revenues hit €2.1bn, an increase of 17% year-on-year. The business also achieved strong EBITDA growth with the full-year adjusted figure hitting €169.2m, compared to €155.7m in 2016.