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Richemont seeks LVMH and Kering partnership to take on Amazon

Richemont chairman Johann Rupert has approached rivals LVMH and Kering to create a luxury ecommerce site that can take on the likes of online giant Amazon.

The South African billionaire who controls the Swiss luxury group and its 20 brands said he has been in discussions with chairman and chief executive of LVMH Bernard Arnault and executives at Kering about them joining the Yoox Net-a-Porter platform, according to Bloomberg.

Luxury-goods makers need more critical mass in ecommerce to survive against the competition, he told a conference in Monaco yesterday.

“We’re not big enough,” he said at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit. “What I said to them [LVMH and Kering] was they can come in and get equity in the company” if they commit to selling their brands on the platform, the publication reported.

Yoox and Net-a-Porter announced plans to merge in March. Combined the company has revenues of €1.3bn (£924m), compared with Amazon which made sales of $89bn (£57bn) last year.

Richemont said last month that it aims to make Yoox Net-a-Porter the “dominant neutral platform for the luxury goods industry”.

“Internet retail is really a big boys’ game” said Rupert on a conference call in May. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”

Kering owns 22 brands including Brioni, Gucci, Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane. LVMH owns 15 fashion brands including Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Givenchy, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs and Nicholas Kirkwood. Kering already has a joint venture with Yoox to manage most of its fashion and accessory brands including Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga, with the exception of Gucci.

@Tara_Hounslea

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