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E-commerce giant Coupang to buy online luxury firm Farfetch

December 18, 2023 3:35 PM

(Reuters) -New York-listed e-commerce giant Coupang plans to buy Farfetch Holdings in a deal that will provide the struggling online luxury fashion retailer with $500 million in capital to stay in operation, the companies said in a joint statement.

Trading in shares of Farfetch, which has a market capitalization of $226.7 million, were halted, while those of Coupang were down 4.5% on Monday.

Farfetch, an e-commerce company that has helped luxury brands sell online, has been hit by a slowdown in the industry which has complicated its efforts to make a profit on technology investments and prompted credit rating downgrades in recent weeks.

Farfetch operates an online luxury marketplace selling high-end fashion and jewelry that dozens of small brands and boutiques rely on as their main selling platform. It also provides back-end technology for ecommerce for department stores and brands like Harrods and Ferragamo.

Coupang, which operates food delivery, video streaming and payment services in markets including South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China and India, struck the deal with an investor group that held over 80% of Farfetch's outstanding $600 million term loans.

The e-commerce giant said it would combine its logistics expertise with Farfetch’s experience selling high-end brands to expand in South Korea, a fast-growing luxury goods market.

Investment firm Greenoaks is investing alongside Coupang.

Last month, the Telegraph newspaper reported that Farfetch founder and CEO Jose Neves was in talks to take the company private.

JPMorgan advised Farfetch on the deal.

In a separate statement, Cartier-owner Richemont said that a previous deal to sell its online ecommerce activity Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) to Farfetch had been scrapped and that it would consider alternative options for powering e-commerce of its brands - noting they continue to operate with their own technology.

Richemont added it did not expect to be repaid a $300 million loan to Farfetch issued in November 2020.

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru, Mimosa Spencer in Paris and Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Bernadette Baum and Tomasz Janowski)

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