Amazon ‘in talks’ to buy Net-a-Porter

Amazon is understood to be in “ongoing talks” to buy luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter from Richemont, reports WWD.

Net-a-Porter could fetch a price of €2bn ($2.19bn) if sold although no deal has yet been confirmed. Amazon is known to be on the search for an online luxury business and continues its efforts to establish a credible fashion retail offer and presence in the industry.

In February, Amazon was announced as the presenting sponsor for the first edition of New York Fashion Week: Men’s in July, with a focus on raising the profile of its fashion sites Amazon Fashion, East Dane and MyHabit.

The company this month expanded in China via a virtual store front on Alibaba-owned Tmall.com with a limited clothing offer, a move already made by fashion retailers including Inditex, Burberry and Asos.com.

Both Amazon and Richemont declined to comment on a potential deal although analysts believe Net-a-Porter sits uneasily among the French luxury group’s portfolio of businesses, which includes Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chloé and Dunhill.

Luca Solca, managing director at Exane BNP Paribas, said the luxury group could look to monetize the value of Net-a-Porter, and sell to a company interested in long-term online luxury retail, such as Amazon. “There is no obvious strategic fit [to Richemont’s core business] in my mind,” he said.

Another option could be to an initial public offering, which is viewed by analysts as a potentially “positive move” for Richemont.

Richemont completed its acquisition in Net-a-Porter in 2010 and has repeatedly denied reports that it intends to sell the UK-based business.

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