Image: The Yes

A growing number of M&A deals and funding rounds are bringing together some of the biggest names in the fashion and luxury space. In November, a $1.15 billion deal came to light, bringing together Cartier’s parent company Richemont, Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, and fashion retail platform Farfetch. The headline-making transaction followed from reports that a “mega deal” was in the making. In addition to proving noteworthy because it brought together three very big names in the fashion sphere in furtherance of an effort that largely focuses on “providing luxury brands with enhanced access to the China market,” the alliance is striking, as it has given rise to speculation about a potential consolidation, with at least some analysts wondering aloud whether the $1.15 billion tie-up could be “a preamble” a larger M&A effort, namely, Richemont merging Yoox Net-a-Porter with Farfetch or the Swiss conglomerate selling the fashion e-commerce pioneer to Alibaba. 

Around the same time, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton decided to make good on an acquisition effort of its own, the one it had also been quietly (and then not so quietly) working towards: Tiffany & Co. Just a matter of days before the Farfetch-Alibaba-YNAP deal was confirmed, LVMH and Tiffany revealed that they had managed to put their rival lawsuits to bed and come to agreeable terms under which the famed New York-based jewelry stalwart could be brought under the ownership umbrella of the Paris-based luxury goods titan. In exchange for $15.8 billion, LVMH would acquire all shares in the formerly publicly-traded Tiffany & Co.

Both instances come as consolidation has been top of mind in the luxury space, where the biggest groups, such as Louis Vuitton-owner LVMH and Gucci’s parent company Kering, have amassed sizable rosters of brands over the past several decades by way of various fashion and luxury-centric M&A transactions, thereby, enabling them to benefit from sheer size and scale, while making it more difficult for independently-owned brands to compete. The havoc wreaked on brands’ balance sheets by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shift online (and the expenses that come with doing that and doing it well) is expected to accelerate that existing fashion industry M&A activity even further. 

“With the financial difficulties [brought about by COVID] in mind, many players, and in particular the smallest, will become more-affordable M&A targets,” according to Isabelle Chaboud, an Associate Professor in the Finance, Accounting and Law Department of Grenoble Ecole de Management. “The most financially solid players – such as LVMH, Kering or Chanel – will no doubt have the option of buying out competitors, subcontractors and even suppliers.” (For a timeline of supplier-specific M&A, you can find that here.)

A Timeline of Transactions

With the foregoing in mind, here is a running timeline of the most recent fashion and luxury-focused M&A and investments dating back to LVMH’s headline-making deal with Tiffany & Co. … 

Sept. 12, 2023 – Birkenstock Announces IPO

Birkenstock announced on September 12 that it will list shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BIRK – without disclosing how many shares it will list or what the anticipated price range for those shares will be. It did, however, reveal that its net revenue for the six months ending on March 31 amounted to 644.17 million euros ($692.87 million), up 19 percent, and its profit was 40.21 million euros (down 45.3 percent). The WSJ reports that German footwear company listed entities affiliated with L Catterton, the U.S. private-equity firm, as the selling shareholder in the IPO, which is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley. “Entities affiliated with L Catterton will control a majority of the combined voting power of the shares after the offering,” the company confirmed.

Aug. 24, 2023 – Rolex to Acquire Bucherer

Rolex has agreed to acquire Bucherer in what is being characterized as “a major tie-up in the closely held luxury-watch industry that will give it more control over how its watches are sold.” 135-year-old Switzerland-based Bucherer, which operates more than 100 stores globally, more than half of which stock Rolex watches, “will keep its name and continue to independently run its business,” Rolex said Thursday, as reported by the WSJ, which notes that “Rolex’s move deeper into the retailing side of the business is a major shift for the Swiss manufacturer. While the company authorizes hundreds of retailers around the world to sell its watches, Rolex only owns and operates one store in Geneva.” The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Aug. 24, 2023 – Forever 21 and Shein Form Joint Venture

Forever 21 and Shein are joining forces in furtherance of a joint venture that will see the Chinese ultra-fast fashion giant acquire about a third of Forever 21′s operator, Sparc Group, while Sparc will also take a minority stake in Shein. (Sparc is, itself, a joint venture between brand holding/management company Authentic Brands Group and Simon Property Group, the biggest shopping mall owner in the U.S.) “For Shein, the deal will give the company a larger presence in U.S. malls, where its current customers and potential new customers shop,” per CNBC, which notes that the company plans to “test new approaches, such as shop-in-shops and allowing customers to make returns in stores.”

Aug. 24, 2023 – Ghost Raises $30M in Series B Round

Ghost has raised $30 million in Series B round found led by Cathay Innovation with participation from existing investors Union Square Ventures, Equal Ventures and Eniac Ventures. The round brings the Los Angeles-based members-only B2B marketplace’s funding to date to $68 million to date. It plans to use the new funds to hire for several roles in product, engineering and design while developing its platform further to meet rising demand. Since coming out of stealth with a $20 million Series A in July of 2022, Ghost counts over 1,000 members, including some of the world’s best brands and global retailers in categories such as apparel, footwear, beauty and home goods, which use its platform to unload surplus inventory.

Aug. 14, 2023 – In-Seam Raises $2M in Pre-Seed Round

In-Seam has raised $2 million in a Pre-Seed round led by Far Out VC on the heels of raising $120,000 via a convertible note in November 2022. The New York-based company says that it “helps connectors in the U.S. (aka personal shoppers, stylists, and sales personnel), who’s personal relationships account for the majority of luxury fashion sales, to better service their high-value clients by leveraging our platform to access the best product for their clients through our streamlined UI, curated network of luxury designers, and access to consignments, free shipping, and commissions.” Founded by Amy Wehren in 2020, In-Seam works with top luxury brands like Dior, Khaite, Ganni, Brandon Maxwell, Altuzarra, and Rosie Assoulin, as well as top personal shoppers and stylists across the U.S. “to shift the value chain and bring power, efficiency, and financial reward to the behind-the-scenes connectors whose personalized service drives luxury while reimagining connection for designers and clients alike.”

Aug. 10, 2023 – Tapestry to Acquire Capri Holding in $8.5B Deal

Tapestry will acquire Capri Holdings in a deal valued at $8.5 billion. In furtherance of the deal, Tapestry – which owns Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman – will pay Capri shareholders $57 per share in cash, or $6.69 billion, to acquire the group, whose holdings consists of Versace, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors. “Once the deal closes, it will create an American fashion giant that – while still not quite as large as its European competitors [like LVMH, Kering, and Richemont, in particular] – will be better positioned to compete in the luxury market,” CNBC reported.

“We’ve created a dynamic, data-driven consumer engagement platform that has fueled our success, fostering innovation, agility, and strong financial results. From this position of strength, we are ready to leverage our competitive advantages across a broader portfolio of brands,” Tapestry CEO Joanne Crevoiserat said in a statement. Meanwhile, Capri Holdings’ CEO John Idol said, “We are confident this combination will deliver immediate value to our shareholders. It will also provide new opportunities for our dedicated employees around the world as Capri becomes part of a larger and more diversified company.”

Aug. 8, 2023 – Advent Takes Majority Stake in Zimmermann

Private equity firm Advent has acquired a majority stake in Zimmermann from founder-sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann and the Milan-based Style Capital fund (the latter of which acquired an estimated 70 percent stake in 2016 from American private equity firm General Atlantic), in a deal that reportedly values the Australian fashion brand at $1.5 billion. The Zimmermann family will retain a minority stake in the 32-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based brand. “The investment by Advent will allow Zimmermann to speed up expansion abroad including in Asia and the Middle East, and boost its distribution network, including the digital offer,” Advent, Zimmermann and Style Capital said in a joint statement as reported by Reuters.

Jul. 28, 2023 – Richemont Acquires Controlling Stake in Gianvito Rossi

Richemont has acquired a controlling stake in Gianvito Rossi, the renowned Italian shoemaking Maison, in “a private transaction.” Cartier-owned Richemont said in a statement that founder Gianvito Rossi, who serves as the CEO and Creative Director of the eponymous brand, “will retain a stake in the company and continue to nurture and develop the Maison in partnership with Richemont.” Mr. Rossi said in connection with the deal, “I have found in Richemont a partner who shares common values such as the greatest attention to quality, design and craftsmanship and the preservation of tradition handed down from generation to generation. I decided to choose them to keep developing the brand worldwide and for their expertise and model of global expansion. Our partnership will be beneficial for the company’s next stage of growth, and we look forward to starting this exciting new chapter together with a spirit of fruitful cooperation.”

Jul. 27, 2023 – Kering to Acquire 30% Stake in Valentino

Kering and Mayhoola have entered into a binding agreement for the acquisition by Kering of a 30% shareholding in Valentino, for a cash consideration of €1.7 billion. The parties said in a statement that “the agreement comprises an option for Kering to acquire 100% of the share capital of Valentino no later than 2028. The transaction is part of a broader strategic partnership between Kering and Mayhoola, which could lead to Mayhoola becoming a shareholder in Kering.” Moreover, they asserted that “the strategic partnership will further support the brand elevation strategy implemented by Valentino CEO Jacopo Venturini,” with Kering to become “a significant shareholder with Board representation, [while] Mayhoola will remain the majority shareholder with 70% of the share capital and will continue to execute on the successful brand elevation strategy.”

As part of the broader partnership, Kering and Mayhoola say that they will “explore potential joint opportunities in line with their respective development strategies.” The transaction is expected to close by end of 2023, subject to clearance by the relevant competition authorities.

Jul. 19, 2023 – SKIMS Raises $270M in Series C

Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS has raised $270 million in a Series C round led by Wellington Management with participation from Greenoaks Capital Partners, D1 Capital Partners, and Imaginary Ventures, bringing the company valuation to $4 billion. That is up from a valuation of approximately $3.2 billion in 2022. SKIMS co-founder and CEO  Jens Grede told The New York Times DealBook that the company expects to generate $750 million in sales in 2023, up from $500 million in 2022. As for the company’s plans, “At some point in the future, Skims deserves to be a public company,” he said.

Jul. 19, 2023 – Musinsa Raises Almost $190M in Series C

Musinsa raised 240 billion won ($189.7 million) in its Series C round from a consortium led by global private equity giant KKR & Co. Inc., with participation from U.S. investment firm Wellington Management Co. The round, which brings Musinsa’s valuation to the mid-3 trillion won mark, follows from a 130 billion won Series B in 2021 and a 100 billion won Series A in 2019. South Korea’s leading fashion platform, Musinsa will use the new funds to “strengthen its profitability, secure the intellectual property of overseas fashion brands that haven’t yet entered the Korean market and invest in promising designer brands.”

Jul. 6, 2023 – Ten Thousand Raises $21.5M in Series A

Ten Thousand has raised $21.5 million in a Series A round led by Provenance with participation from Fernbrook and Alfa, which join existing seed investors, including Dave Gilboa (co-founder of Warby Parker), Blue Scorpion, and Elizabeth St Ventures. The New York-headquartered men’s activewear brand, which was founded and is led by Keith Nowak, will use the new funds to “grow [its] team, invest in more inventory, and explore retail, larger partnerships and new marketing channels.”

Jun. 29, 2023 – Authentic Brands Group Raises $500M in New Round

Authentic Brands Group has raised $500 million from growth-equity investor General Atlantic, nabbing a reported valuation of more than $20 billion in the process. “General Atlantic first invested in Authentic Brands in 2017 and has now invested a total $2 billion in the company,” per Bloomberg. “Other investors in Authentic Brands include BlackRock Inc.’s private equity arm, mall operator Simon Property Group Inc., Leonard Green & Partners and retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.”

Jun. 20, 2023 – Frasers Group Acquires 5% Stake in Boohoo

Frasers Group has taken a 5 percent stake in Boohoo in a strategic move given the fast fashion retailer’s “attractive proposition to us with its laser focus on young female consumers.” In a statement, Frasers said that its “sees potential synergies and an opportunity to strengthen our own brand proposition in collaboration with Boohoo, most obviously with Frasers Group brands I Saw It First and Missguided.” The terms of the investment have not been disclosed.

This is a short (and incomplete) excerpt from a data set that is published exclusively for TFL Enterprise subscribers. For access to our up-to-date fashion investment and M&A tracker, inquire today about how to sign up for an Enterprise subscription.