Quite the exit for the MatchesFashion founders.
Funds advised by Apax Partners (“Apax Funds”) have today announced a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in MATCHESFASHION.COM, a leading digitally innovative global luxury-fashion brand. The founders, Tom and Ruth Chapman, as well as existing venture capital backers Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Highland Europe, will retain minority stakes in the business. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in Q4 2017.
Funds advised by Apax Partners, a firm that owns Karl Lagerfeld and previously invested in Tommy Hilfiger, have agreed to buy a majority stake in the business in a deal that values Matches at £800m. The Chapmans, both in their 50s, are understood to be cashing in the vast majority of their 67% stake. They are stepping back from day-to-day involvement and will retain only an advisory role.
The fashion empire, which stocks 400 brands and ships to 190 countries, attracted 55 million visitors to its website last year as it launched new services, including delivery within 90 minutes to well-heeled London shoppers. It deals with some of the biggest spenders in the fashion world with the top 3% of its customers accounting for 35% of sales.
And here‘s a summary on the market context this is happening in:
The rival company Farfetch is rumoured to be plotting a $5bn (£4bn) public listing just 10 years after it was set up, making it one of the UK’s most valuable internet businesses. In June, it announced plans to expand into the Chinese market after selling a minority stake, for $397m, to JD.com, the country’s biggest retailer.
The biggest online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter merged with the Italian designer sales site Yoox in 2015 and now has global sales of nearly €2bn, about half of which come via mobile phones.
The acquisition comes five years after MatchesFashion raised £32 million ($51 million) in funding from SEP and Highland Capital Europe. In March, MatchesFashion released its financial results for the first time, revealing 61 percent year on year growth in 2016, with an uplift in revenues in all markets. EBITDA hit £19 million, nearly six times more than the previous year, and 2016’s total online sales were up by 73 percent.