Mohammed Alabbar is set to take a 4 percent stake in online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter in "a move expected to push the Italian group's growth in the high-potential Middle Eastern market," per Reuters. Yoox Net-A-Porter (“YNAP”), which was created last year from the merger of Italy's Yoox with rival Net-a-Porter, confirmed that the Dubai entrepreneur - by way of his Alabbar Enterprises company - is paying 100 million euro ($113 million) in exchange for the stake.
According to Reuters, "The Dubai group runs various franchise operations in the Middle East and Asia, including chocolate maker Hershey's and fashion house Oscar de la Renta. Alabbar is also chairman of Emaar Properties, the Dubai government-linked builder of the world's tallest building and whose subsidiary Emaar Malls owns and operates Dubai Mall, which accounts for 50 percent of the emirate's luxury goods spending."
"Mr. Alabbar's track record in delivering exclusive luxury and retail experiences across the Middle East - accounts for a 5 percent share in global luxury consumption and is seeing growing internet sales due to increasing public investments in e-services and telecoms infrastructure - will provide us with invaluable insights in the fast-growing regional luxury fashion market," YNAP Chief Executive Federico Marchetti said.
Alabbar told Reuters that YNAP had a strong management and referred to the company's double-digit growth as the reason for his investment. He declined to comment on whether he could take a larger shareholding in YNAP. "We are building a relationship with this company, its shareholders and management, and I wouldn't mind getting involved," he said.
"The luxury market worldwide is looking reasonably well, the Middle East is looking good overall - the demographics are healthy and I'm optimistic on the Middle East," Alabbar said.