Online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter has signed a merger deal with Italian etail rival Yoox to create a €1.3bn (£940m) industry leader.
The newly formed Yoox Net-a-Porter Group will be led by Yoox founder Federico Marchetti as chief executive, while Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet will serve as executive chairman.
Marchetti described the deal as a game-changer, while Massenet said it would create the “world’s biggest luxury fashion store.”
Following the merger the group intends to raise up to €200m (£145m) to fund “future growth opportunities.”
A statement released by the group also discussed the potential for other strategic investments to enter in the future.
All shares held by Newco, the Italian holding company which owns the Net-a-Porter Group, will be absorbed into Yoox.
Richemont, which is the sole shareholder in Newco, will own half the combined group and will hold 25% voting rights. However, it will be limited to two directors on the board out of a minimum of 12, at least half of which will comprise independent directors.
The agreed deal is subject to regulation and shareholder approval at a meeting in June, with the merger expected to be completed in September.
Massenet said: “Today, we open the doors to the world’s biggest luxury fashion store. It is a store that never closes, a store without geographical borders, a store that connects with, inspires, serves and offers millions of style-conscious global consumers access to the finest designer labels in fashion. A store that provides established and emerging brands with the greatest interactive shop window to the world.”
Richemont chairman Johann Rupert said: “Established business models are being increasingly disrupted by the technological giants. It is with this in mind that we believe it is important to increase leadership and size to protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry. The merger of the two leaders will further enhance an independent, neutral platform for a sophisticated clientele looking for luxury brands.”