Samsonite Pulls a Unilever and Snaps up eBags for $105 Million

Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club last year might just have been a wake-up call for many brands trying to figure out where to stand in the digital landscape. It’s time to get serious.

In the US, with Amazon dominating the online market, it has been Walmart recently making one move after another buying online players to build a new portfolio for the decades to come.

This time, it is not Walmart, but the American luggage manufacturer and retailer Samsonite that snapped up eBags. eBags is an online retailer of, you may have guessed, luggage, handbags, laptop bags, you name it.

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eBags, which was founded in 1998, made $159 million (+24%) in 2016.

From the press release (PDF):

Samsonite has entered into an agreement to acquire eBags for a cash consideration of US$105.0 million.

The acquisition is part of Samsonite’s ongoing strategy to accelerate the growth of its direct-to-consumer, ecommerce business, and strengthen its existing digital capabilities.

With Dollar Shave Club, Unilever bought a digital direct-to-consumer brand. With eBags, Samsonite is buying an online retailer operating in its niche. Very different things. But both have in common that the acquirers have to change their modus operandi to thrive online. This will be fascinating to follow. (How will eBags for example handle non-Samsonite brands going forward?)

It is not just Unilever and Samsonite, though:
LVMH is going to (try to) go digital (again), according to the Financial Times (paywall):

LVMH is working on an ecommerce site that would bring together all of its brands — and those of competitors — on one portal and represent the most ambitious attempt yet by the French group to capitalise on fast-growing online sales of luxury goods.

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company by revenue, plans to launch a website in May that will be branded as its department store Le Bon Marché.

Essilor bought MyOptique and Vision Direct last year. And Younique, of course, went, in the biggest exit yet this year, to Coty.

More generally, $1b+ acquisitions of tech companies by ‘non-tech’ companies are on the rise across the economy.

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2 comments

  1. […] Samsonite Pulls a Unilever and Snaps up eBags for $105 Million […]

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