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Net-a-Porter to Be Sold to Richemont, Natalie Massenet Staying On

>> Confirming reports from a couple of weeks ago, luxury conglomerate Richemont (parent of brands like Chloe and Cartier) is acquiring Net-a-Porter in a £350 million (approx. $533 million) deal.

Natalie Massenet, who founded Net-a-Porter in 2000, is estimated to pocket £50 million (approx. $76 million) with the sale of her 18 percent stake in the company.  She is expected to stay on as executive chairman of the company after Richemont's takeover and is reportedly preparing to invest £15 million of the sale proceeds back into Net-a-Porter. Mark Sebba, Net-a-Porter's chief executive, is also said to be staying on.

Why the marriage? »

Richemont, which already owns 29 percent of the online luxury retailer, is expected to help Net-a-Porter expand into Southeast Asia. Johann Rupert, Richemont's executive chairman, is hoping Net-a-Porter's skill in selling luxury online will help Richemont develop its own Internet strategy.

“The timing is right for us. The company has reached a natural point where it is capable of enormous growth. We look forward to working with Richemont in this next chapter,” Massenet told Business of Fashion. “We will be announcing exciting new plans for the business over the coming months. Richemont has completely embraced our vision and strategy since they came on board as a shareholder and together we are going to continue to build the 21st Century model for luxury fashion retailing.”

Not all parties are as optimistic about the deal — the Financial Times reports that some analysts have raised concerns that the sale might prompt some luxury goods companies to pull out of the site.

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