A growing number of M&A deals and investment 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.”

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. 23, 2022 – Diego Della Valle to Buy Outstanding Stake in Tod’s

Tod’s founder Diego Della Valle will buy out remaining shares in Italian footwear brand Tod’s SpA by way of a medium-term loan provided by BNP Paribas SA’s BNL unit, Credit Agricole SA and Deutsche Bank AG. According to a regulatory filing from Della Valle’s DeVa Finance Srl, the Della Valle family will use its 49 percent stake in Tod’s as collateral for the 420 million-euro ($409 million) loan to fund the buy out.

Among the objectives of the move – which will serve to delist the Sant’Elpidio a Mare, Italy-headquartered group from the Milan Stock Exchange – is to “enhance the individual brands” that fall under the group’s umbrella, including Tod’s, Roger Vivier, Hogan and Fay, “giving them strong individual visibility and great operational autonomy,” Italian publication Il Sole 24 Ore reported. Della Valle “intends to strengthen the positioning of the [these] brands in the upper part of the quality and luxury market,” and focus on “the optimization of the worldwide distribution network.”

Among the “curiosities” of the newly-announced plan, the publication, noted was the absence of Chiara Ferragni at the Tod’s board meeting on Sept. 22 during which time the board approved the offer document. Ferragni was named to the Tod’s board in April 2021.

Sept. 16, 2022 – Everlane Secures $90 Million in Debt Financing

Everlane has secured $90 million in debt financing, including a $65 million revolving credit facility and a $25 million first-in last-out term loan, according to releases from Houlihan Lokey Advisers and CIT Northbridge Credit. “This financing will provide acceleration for our business through new stores and product expansion and allow us to continue to extend our mission of sustainability at a much-needed time in the world,” Everlane founder Michael Preysman said in statement. Beyond that, Everlane revealed that the funding will enable the company to “refinance existing indebtedness and provide incremental liquidity for growth initiatives as well as to pay transaction-related fees and expenses.”

“With the trends we’re observing in the apparel space and the heightened focus on sustainability and environmental impact, we are pleased to work with Everlane to be on the front lines of this transformation,” Neal Legan, managing director at CIT Northbridge Credit, said.

Sept. 15, 2022 – Prada Takes Stake in Tuscan Tannery Superior SpA

Prada SpA has acquired a 43.65 percent stake in Tuscan calfskin tannery Superior SpA, further “tightening its grip on its supply chain,” per Reuters. “The acquisition of a shareholding in Superior represents another important step in the strategic direction towards vertical integration of the Prada Group’s supply chain,” CEO Patrizio Bertelli said.

Sept. 6, 2022 – D’Amelio Family Raises $6 Million to Launch Brands Venture

The D’Amelio family, which includes sisters Charli and Dixie who are two of the most heavily-followed and top-earning TikTok personalities, has raised a $6 million seed round to launch a new fashion and lifestyle-focused venture. The new project, D’Amelio Brands, “will create its own brands in a variety of industries including fashion, beauty and lifestyle that are 100 percent owned by the family,” per CNBC. Investors in the round include Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt, and Apple Senior Vice President of Services Eddy Cue. 

Sept. 5, 2022 – Alexander Wang Raises First Outside Funds

Alexander Wang has announced its first-ever outside investment, with two China-based entities – venture capital fund Challenjers Capital and apparel manufacturing and real estate firm Youngor Group – taking an undisclosed minority stake in the New York-based brand, whose eponymous founder and creative director has faced sexual assault allegations in recent years. According to Vogue, “The investment will be used to support the brand’s rehabilitation efforts, which began with a comeback runway show in Los Angeles in April. Wang projects that the funding, along with the external expertise that accompanies it, will help to double the company’s revenue within five years — it currently turns over $200 million annually.” Such anticipated growth is expected to come by way of the Asian market and an expansion of the brand’s offerings.

Aug. 24, 2022 – Farfetch to Acquire 47.5% Stake in Yoox-Net-a-Porter

Richemont and Farfetch have finalized the long-rumored deal in furtherance of which Richemont will sell a 47.5 percent stake in Yoox-Net-a-Porter to Farfetch. In a statement on Tuesday, Richemont revealed that Symphony Global, one of the investment vehicles of Mohamed Alabbar, which currently maintains a Middle Eastern joint venture with YNAP, will also take a 3.2 percent stake, making YNAP “a neutral industry-wide platform,” and “lay[ing] a path towards FARFETCH potentially acquiring the remaining shares in YNAP [and] bringing together these highly complementary businesses.” The partnership marks “a step change in Richemont Maisons’ omnichannel distribution capabilities,” the Swiss luxury goods group revealed on Tuesday, noting that the “landmark transaction” represents a move “towards the digitalization of the luxury industry.” 

Aug. 21, 2022 – Noon to Acquire Namshi for $335 Million

Middle-Eastern e-commerce retailer Noon will acquire Namshi for in a deal that values the fashion retailer at $335.2 million. Emaar Properties announced on Saturday that it reached a deal “in-principle” to sell of Namshi to Noon, the latter of which is backed by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar and Saudi Arabian sovereign fund the Public Investment Fund. “The planned divestment is with a related party to the Company,” Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, the Director & Managing Director at Emaar Properties, said in connection with the impending deal, seemingly referring to Alabbar’s role as the Founder and Chairman of Emaar Properties, as well as a co-founder of Noon.com. “Detailed information will be disclosed once the approvals of Noon Board are received formally,” Al Matrooshi said.

Dubai-headquartered Emaar, the company behind properties, such as the Dubai Mall, first acquired a 51 percent stake in Namshi in 2017 for $281 million, and acquired the remaining 49 percent in 2019.

Aug. 16, 2022 – Authentic Brands Snaps Up Ted Baker

Authentic Brands Group has agreed to buy British fashion company Ted Baker in a deal that is worth approximately 211 million pounds ($254 million). “Pandemic-related losses forced Ted Baker to put itself up for sale in April,” Reuters reports, with a rep for New York-based Authentic Brands stating on Tuesday that it “believes there are significant growth opportunities for the Ted Baker brand in North America given (its) … strong consumer recognition in this market.” Authentic Brands has built up its portfolio of companies significantly over the past several years, with Barneys, David Beckham, Forever 21, Juicy Couture, Vision Street Wear, Brooks Brothers, and Aeropostale, among others, falling under its ownership umbrella.

August 8, 2022 – Sequoia Capital China Acquires Majority Stake in Holzweiler

Sequoia Capital China has acquired a majority stake in Holzweiler to help accelerate the Norwegian fashion and lifestyle brand’s global expansion. The 10-year-old company, which was founded by siblings Andreas and Susanne Holzweiler, said in a statement, as reported by BoF that the strategic partnership with Sequoia Capital China will accelerate its direct-to-consumer business internationally, including the United States, United Kingdom, China. It expects consolidated turnover to amount to $50 million in 2022, up 60 percent year-over-year.

June 13, 2022 – Zalando Acquires Highsnobiety

Berlin-based e-commerce platform Zalando has acquired a majority stake in Highsnobiety, the global pioneer of the new luxury culture, in furtherance of an effort that will see the two companies “join forces to lead the way in engaging and inspiring customers.” While continuing “independent operations,” Zalando says that Highsnobiety “will act as a strategic and creative consultant helping [it] develop new inspiration-focused spaces and formats on its platform.” The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, aside from the parties confirming that Highsnobiety founder and CEO David Fischer will retain a minority stake in the business.

Prior to the deal, Highsnobiety had raised $8.5 million from investors, including Felix Capital, Torch Capital, Reimann Investors, CASSIUS Family, and Holt Renfrew President and CEO Sebastian Picardo, since its founding in 2005, according to Crunchbase.

June 8, 2022 – H&M Group and Lululemon Lead Investment in Climate Fund

H&M Group and Lululemon are among the leading investors in a Fashion Climate Fund spearheaded by nonprofit Apparel Impact Institute. The $250 million fund aims to “support new programs and solutions with a structured pipeline for getting from pilot to scale,” Apparel Impact Institute stated in a release. “We believe it provides a powerful mechanism to overcome the challenges of getting new solutions implemented by the industry, and thereby accelerate the progress on climate action.”

According to Axois, the fund has “attracted $40 million from H&M Group and Lululemon, plus the H&M Foundation and the Schmidt Family Foundation,” noting that further lead partners are expected to each invest a minimum of $10 million over the next eight years.

June 2, 2022 – Pinterest Acquires The Yes

Pinterest will acquire AI-powered shopping platform The Yes. The deal, the terms of which have not been disclosed comes as the San Francisco-based image sharing and social media service looks to double-down on the shopping aspect of its platform. In furtherance of its mission to “learn what you like and get smarter as you shop,” The Yes, which was founded in 2018 by former Stitch Fix COO Julie Bornstein and Amit Aggarwal, maintains “an extensive fashion taxonomy that uses human expertise and machine learning to power a comprehensive algorithm in fashion.”

“THE YES team are experts in building an end-to-end shopping experience. They share our vision of making it simple to find the right products that are personalized for you based on your taste and style,” Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said, noting that in the months following the closing of the transaction, “Pinterest plans to sunset the THE YES app and website to allow the merged teams to focus on technology integration and evolving our shopping vision.”

May 17, 2022 – B2B Fashion Supply Chain Marketplace Fashinza Raises $100M

Fashinza has raised $100 million in a Series B round that co-led by Prosus Ventures and Westbridge with participation from Accel, and Elevation, among others, valuing the B2B fashion marketplace at $300 billion valuation. The Delhi, India-based company describes itself as the “fastest apparel manufacturing platform” that “solves apparel/fashion supply chain challenges by connecting fashion brands to experienced manufacturers.”

The round brings Fashinza’s total funds raised to $135 million, which CEO Pawan Gupta says the company will use to “refine the company’s supply chain technology and expand into new markets, including raw materials procurement.”

May 4, 2022 – Kering Invests in Alternative Leather Startup VitroLabs

Gucci-owner Kering is one of the investors in a $46 million Series A round raised by VitroLabs, along with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, agriculture-focused VC Agronomics, Bestseller’s Invest FWD innovation arm, Khosla Ventures, New Agrarian, and Regeneration VC, among others. California-based VitroLabs, which makes cellular-cultivated leather that “replicates the structure of animal hides,” will use the funding to scale-up its operations and expects to start pilot manufacturing this spring.

“At Kering, a chapter/pillar of our sustainability roadmap is dedicated to sustainable innovation and actively looking for alternative materials that can reduce our environmental impact over the long term is part of the solutions we have been exploring for years. We believe that innovation is key to addressing the sustainability challenges that the luxury industry is facing, which is why we are very interested in the potential of biomaterials such as cultivated leather,” Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer at Kering, said in connection with the finding announcement.

May 2, 2022 – G-III to Acquire Remaining 81 Percent Stake in Karl Lagerfeld Label

DKNY and Sonia Rykiel-owner G-III Apparel Group will acquire the outstanding 81 percent stake in the late Karl Lagerfeld’s eponymous label for $210 million in cash in a deal that will make it the sole owner of the brand. G-III, which first acquired a 19 percent stake in the brand in 2016 after launching a joint venture in 2015, says that it expects that retail sales for the Karl Lagerfeld label could eventually surpass $2 billion.

Apr. 20, 2022 – Destree Raises Series A from Beyonce, Rihanna, Sequoia Capital China

Destree, the Paris-based fashion brand founded by Géraldine Guyot and Laetitia Lumbroso, announced a Series A round that includes big-name investors, such as venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Reese Witherspoon, Gisele Bündchen, Gabriela Hearst, Carmen Busquets, Jessica Alba, Glossier founder Emily Weiss, and Amy Griffin of G9 Ventures. Financial terms were not disclosed, per WWD, but it is understood Guyot and Lumbroso retain majority control of the business, founded in 2016. WWD reports that the funding will be used to “almost double the size of their small team; open Destree’s first freestanding stores; expand into new or underdeveloped markets like the Middle East, China, Japan and the U.S., and supercharge e-commerce operations and digital-native marketing.”

Apr. 5, 2022 – Farfetch Takes Stake in Neiman Marcus Group

Farfetch announced that it will make “a minority common equity investment of up to $200 million” in Neiman Marcus Group in furtherance of a global strategic partnership.” According to a statement from the two retailers, “The partnership builds on Farfetch’s Luxury New Retail vision and advances Neiman Marcus Groups’ pioneering strategy to revolutionize integrated luxury retail, with an initial focus on re-platforming the Bergdorf Goodman website and mobile application to expand its global capabilities and services.” Neiman Marcus says that it will use the proceeds to “further accelerate growth and innovation through investments in technology and digital capabilities.”

In a note about the deal, Bernstein analyst Luca Solca stated that it provides Farfetch “a strategic opportunity to stand out among service providers and to benefit from the strength of the local US customers,” namely by way of its and its Luxury New Retail and Farfetch Platform Solutions, its suite of commerce solutions and retail technology for luxury brands and retailers.

Mar. 14, 2022 – Kering to Bolster Eyewear Unit with Maui Jim

Kering Eyewear has signed an agreement to acquire Maui Jim, Inc., the French luxury goods conglomerate revealed without disclosing the terms of the deal. On the heels of Kering snapping up Danish eyewear brand LINDBERG in July 2021, the group says that “this second key acquisition is also a major step for Kering Eyewear, which has now become unparalleled in its market segment, further validating the strategy that laid behind its creation by Kering in 2014.” The transaction is subject to the clearance by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

Jan. 28, 2022 – Farfetch to Acquire Violet Grey

Farfetch will acquire beauty brand Violet Grey for an undisclosed sum, the e-commerce platform announced. In a nod to larger implications of the deal, Violet Grey founder Cassandra Grey will act as chairwoman for the brand, while also becoming Farfetch’s global beauty advisor and the co-founder of NGG Beauty, a division of Farfetch’s New Guards Group, with both entities seemingly ramping up their intentions to launch into the beauty space. The launch of a beauty category on the Farfetch marketplace is scheduled for later in the year.

“Farfetch has a really strong track record for acquiring really special, founder-led brands and celebrating and protecting that kind of brand equity,” Grey said in statement inn connection with the confirmation of the deal.

Jan. 27, 2022 – Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS Raises $240 Million

Kim Kardashian’s shapewear label SKIMS raised $240 million in an unknown-series round that was led by hedge fund Lone Pine Capital and that also included D1 Capital Partners, along with existing investors Thrive Capital, Natalie Massenet’s Imaginary Ventures, and Alliance Consumer Growth. The round doubles the barely three-year-old brand at $3.2 billion, up from $1.6 billion in April 2021. Kardashian and SKIMS CEO Jens Grede will retain a controlling stake in the company after the investment, according to Bloomberg.

Jan. 18, 2022 – LVMH Luxury Ventures Invests in Aimé Leon Dore

LVMH’s Luxury Ventures investment vehicle has taken a minority stake in budding New York-based fashion brand Aimé Leon Dore. While the terms of the investment – which appears as though it might be the latest deal to have been brokered by Alexandre Arnault – have not been disclosed, LVMH typically Luxury Ventures typically targets investments ranging from €2 million to €15 million. In a statement on Tuesday, Aimé Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis stated, “LVMH’s vast network of global leaders across the industry and its rich history in growing exceptional storied brands offers a truly unique partnership opportunity to fuel the next chapter of growth for Aimé Leon Dore.”

Jan. 13, 2022 – LVMH Luxury Ventures Takes a Stake in Heat

Mystery boxes are the latest target of investment for LVMH’s Luxury Ventures, with the French luxury goods conglomerate’s fund among the parties to a $5 million round raised by Heat. OTB Group board member and BVX CEO Stefano Rosso, Singapore-headquartered VC firm Antler, L Catterton partner Michael Mitterlehner, Spotify Director of Global Growth Sven Ahrens, and the Hermès family are some of the other investors in London-based Heat’s seed round, the funds from which will be used to “implement gamification, AI-driven personalization, and interactive drops, all while driving sustainability,” the company revealed.

FY 2021


Nov. 22, 2021 – CVC Capital, HPS Investment Take Stake in Authentic Brands

Private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and HPS Investment Partners have acquired “significant equity stakes” in Authentic Brands Group, putting a a $12.7 billion enterprise value on the company and prompting it to postpone a previously-planned planned initial public offering until at least 2023. In a statement, ABG said that “since its founding in 2010, [it] has experienced significant growth by implementing a proven playbook that connects strong brands with best-in-class licensees and a network of partners to optimize value in the marketplace.” Among the 30 or so brands under its ownership umbrella are Forever 21, Barneys New York, Aeropostale, Brooks Brothers, and Vision Street Wear.

Sept. 23, 2021 – G-III to Acquire Sonia Rykiel

G-III Apparel Group revealed that it has entered into an M&A agreement to purchase Sonia Rykiel, with plans to accelerate the relaunch of the French fashion brand primarily in Europe, for the fall of 2022, with collections across multiple categories. The transaction, which comes less than two years after brothers Eric and Michael Dayan successfully bid to acquire all of the bankrupt brand’s assets via a court-administered process. (Those assets included the brand’s intellectual property rights (namely, its various global trademark registrations, and decades of archives and product prototypes); the commercial leases for its brick-and-mortar outposts in France – from its Saint Germain flagship to a glitzy boutique in Cannes, among others; and its remaining stock of garments and accessories.)

The fashion-centric M&A deal is expected to close by the end of October 2021.

Aug. 24, 2021 – Chanel Takes Majority Stake in Paima

Chanel has taken a majority stake in Italian knitwear company Paima, a move that falls in line with a larger pattern of luxury giants looking gain greater control over their supply chains by bringing key third-party companies under their own roofs. “This decision has been motivated by converging interests,” Chanel asserted in a statement, noting that while Paima, which has been a supplier for the French fashion brand for 25 years, “has seen its development accelerate in recent years, it seemed appropriate to have a solid partner to help it grow [further] and invest.” More than that, Chanel revealed that the investment “provides a more sustainable collaboration framework by continuing an already established relationship.”

Aug. 12, 2021 – Authentic Brands Group Buys Reebok

Adidas is selling its Reebok brand to Authentic Brands Groups for up to 2.1 billion euros ($2.46 billion), with the German sporting wear group looking to “focus on its core brand after the U.S. fitness label failed to live up to expectations,” per Reuters. Authentic Brand, which filed its preliminary IPO documentation in July, has been on a buying streak in the past few years, with the brand developer buying up an array of fashion and apparel companies, ranging from Juicy Couture and Judith Leiber to Jones New York, Volcom, and Aeropostale.

Jul. 28, 2021 – Aeffe Takes Full Control of Moschino 

Italian fashion and luxury goods group Aeffe S.p.A. acquired the remaining 30 percent of Moschino in an M&A deal that will see it pay 66.6 million euros ($78.51 million), and bring its holding of the company to 100 percent and the valuation of the Jeremy Scott-designed brand to $261.7 million. Aeffe also owns Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini.

In a statement, Aeffe Executive Chairman Massimo Ferretti said, “The operation we have just concluded has long been considered an important step in our medium-long term growth strategy. With the full control over MOSCHINO brand, we are now in the best conditions to manage all activities related to the brand’s value chain, from product to quality and with positive effects on image, distribution and communication.”

Jul. 20, 2021 – LVMH Takes Majority Stake in Off-White

LVMH announced on Tuesday that it is taking a majority stake in Off-White, the upscale fashion/streetwear brand that Virgil Abloh launched in 2013 via a new M&A deal. In a statement, LVMH revealed that in addition to taking a 60 percent stake in Off-White, it has entered into a new “arrangement” with Abloh to “jointly pursue new projects across luxury categories.” 

Jul. 18, 2021 – L Catterton Takes Majority Stake in Etro

Italian fashion brand Etro announced on July 18 that it entered into a binding M&A agreement to partner with L Catterton. Under the terms of the agreement, LVMH-affiliated L Catterton Europe will acquire a majority stake in Etro, while the Etro family will retain a significant minority. Etro Founder Gerolamo Etro will be appointed as Chairman of the company.

Jul. 12, 2021 – LVMH Takes Minority Stake in Phoebe Philo

Phoebe Philo announced that she is launching her own label after spending three and a half years out of the spotlight following her 10-year tenure with Celine, and revealed that LVMH has taken a minority stake in her soon-to-launch label. The size of LVMH’s minority position and the terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Jul. 11, 2021 – Nordstrom Takes Stake in Four ASOS Brands

Nordstrom announced that it has acquired a minority stake in four apparel brands owned by British fashion group ASOS. Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and the activewear label HIIT, which ASOS acquired from Arcadia Group for £295 million ($407.21 million) in February 2021, will enable the U.S. department store chain to target millennial and Gen-Z consumers. Financial terms of the M&A deal have not been disclosed.

Jul. 8, 2021 – Kering Acquires LINDBERG

Kering is bolstering its eyewear division by way of a deal in which Kering Eyewear will acquire 100 percent of the share capital of LINDBERG. The acquisition is “an important milestone in the successful expansion of Kering Eyewear and perfectly fits with its development strategy,” according to Kering, which launched its eyewear division in 2014, a venture that it says consists of “an innovative business model that has enabled [it] to reach a critical size in the market with close to €600 million wholesale external revenues” as of FY2019.

Jul. 7, 2021 – Glossier Raises $80 Million in Latest Round

Glossier announced that it has raised $80 million in Series E funding. The round, which was led by Lone Pine Capital with participation from existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Index Ventures, IVP, Sequoia Capital, and Thrive Capital, values the millennial-focused beauty company at $1.8 billion.

Jun. 30, 2021 – Richemont Acquires Delvaux

Cartier owner Richemont announced on Wednesday that it has acquired a 100 percent stake in Belgian luxury leather goods brand Delvaux in “a private transaction.” Founded in 1829, Richemont says that Delvaux is the oldest luxury leather goods Maison in the world. The Swiss conglomerate revealed that the transaction has “no material financial impact on [its] consolidated net assets or operating result for the year ending March 31, 2022,” and that Delvaux’s revenues will be reported within its “Other” business area.

The M&A deal appears to be a sign that Richemont is looking to bolster its softer luxury (and maybe even fashion) offerings, having built its name in the hard luxury (i.e., jewelry and watches) segment of the market.

Jun. 24, 2021 – GOAT Nabs $3.7 Billion Valuation with New Round

Online sneaker and apparel marketplace GOAT Group has raised $195 million in a new funding round, which has “more than doubled its valuation to $3.7 billion,” per Reuters. The Los Angeles-based company, which was founded in 2015, boasts some 30 million customers across 170 countries, and “posted gross merchandise value, which represents the total volume of goods sold, of $2 billion over the past year as sales of sneakers and apparel surged.”

The buzzy platform made headlines early this year when it announced that it had welcomed a “strategic investment” from Groupe Artemis – the controlling shareholder of Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta’s parent company Kering – as it “continues its expansion in fashion apparel and new categories.” (It also garnered attention in connection with a settlement in the trademark lawsuit filed against it by London-based brand Goat Fashion.)

Jun. 24, 2021 – Kering Takes Stake in Luxury Rental Co. Cocoon

Kering has taken an undisclosed stake in a luxury rental company. In a statement on Thursday, Kering announced that it has invested in Cocoon, a London-based startup that specializes in facilitating rentals for luxury handbags – including offerings from upwards of 30 brands, such as Kering-owned Gucci, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta – with the investment coming as part of a larger $3.5 million round that also included participation from resale platform Depop’s founder Simon Beckerman, among others. Kering’s chief client and digital officer Gregory Boutte said the deal is part of a larger strategy by the conglomerate to invest in innovative young companies. 

Jun. 22, 2021 – Prada, Zegna Take Stakes in Cashmere Supplier

Prada has partnered with fellow Italian fashion company Ermenegildo Zegna Group to acquire a controlling stake in Italian cashmere producer Filati Biagioli Modesto in furtherance of a quest to “secure a domestic supply chain and luxury-goods manufacturing expertise.” The two big-name fashion entities will each take a 40 percent stake in the Montale-based supplier, which is known for its Italian cashmere and “noble yarns,” while the Biagioli family will hold on to 15 percent of the company, and newly-appointed CEO Renato Cotto – who recently served as a director at LVMH’s Loro Piana – will assume a 5 percent holding. 

Jun. 18, 2021 – LVMH Takes Full Control of Pucci

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired the outstanding 33 percent stake in Emilio Pucci just over two decades after it paid an undisclosed sum for a 67 percent ownership stake in the Italian fashion house in 2000. In a statement on Friday, as first reported by WWD, Toni Belloni, LVMH’s group managing director thanked the Pucci family, and in particular, Laudomia Pucci, the daughter of founder Emilio Pucci, who has served as the Deputy Chairman and Image Director of the brand, “for their friendship and collaboration over the years.” In conjunction with the deal, Ms. Pucci will step down from her current role and “dedicate herself to the archives and promoting the heritage of her late father.”

Jun. 10, 2021 – Fosun Fashion Group Nabs Sergio Rossi in M&A Deal

In a statement on June 10, Fosun Fashion Group revealed that it has signed a M&A agreement to acquire 100 percent of Sergio Rossi S.p.A from from Absolute Luxury Holding S.r.l., an independently-managed investment subsidiary of Investindustrial V L.P., for an undisclosed sum. The Shanghai-headquartered group stated that the acquisition will “further enrich FFG’s luxury brand portfolio, which currently includes Lanvin, Wolford, Caruso and St. John Knits, complementing the group’s core competency through luxury accessories.”

Jun. 8, 2021 – Sequoia Takes Stake in SSENSE

SSENSE announced that it has sold an undisclosed stake in the company to California-based venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in a M&A deal that values the fashion e-commerce retailer at 5 billion CAD ($4.13 billion). As for what the investment might entail, it appears that the high fashion-focused retailer has set its sights on expansion in China, as Angelica Cheung, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue China, who joined Sequoia Capital China as a venture partner in February, will join the SSENSE’s board in connection with the deal.

Apr. 22, 2021 – LVMH Boosts Stake in Tod’s

Tod’s revealed that LVMH will boost its exist stake in Tod’s to 10 percent by way of a new 6.8 percent increase. “A source close to the matter said the French giant does not expect to raise its stake further for now,” Reuters reported, noting that Tod’s founder and chairman Diego Della Valle has been a member of LVMH’s board of directors since 2002. While Della Valle has repeatedly denied longstanding chatter about a takeover, he stated on Thursday that “this may represent an excellent reason to consider further opportunities to be taken in the future ahead,” referring to LVMH’s stake increase.

Mar. 25, 2021 – Made in Italy Fund acquires Dondup

Made in Italy Fund has acquired Milan-based fashion brand Dondup from fellow private equity firm L Catterton for an undisclosed sum. “The fund said it aims at creating a fashion conglomerate with Dondup and other fashion brands it owns – 120%Lino, known for its linen clothes, and jewellery and accessories maker Rosantica – and expanding their foothold in Europe and the United States, Reuters reported. The firm also maintains a majority stake in 6-year old Italian streetwear label GCDS, which it acquired in November 2020.

Mar. 8, 2021 – Ferrari owner Exor takes 24% stake in Louboutin

Exor Group – the $30 billion Netherlands-incorporated investment group run by the Italian Agnelli family and the largest shareholder in Italian automaker Ferrari – announced that it will take a 24 percent stake in the independently-owned Louboutin in exchange for 541 million euros ($640 million), a deal that values the 30-year old Paris-based footwear brand at $2.3 billion euros ($2.73 billion) and sets it up for expansion, particularly in China.

Mar. 5, 2021 – Margiela-owner OTB acquires Jil Sander

Japanese apparel group Onward Holdings announced that it will sell fashion brand Jil Sander to Renzo Rosso’s luxury group, OTB, the parent of Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Amiri, and Viktor & Rolf. The financial figures associated with the M&A deal remain undisclosed.

Mar. 1, 2021 – Kering leads $216 million Vesitaire round

Kering and American investment firm Tiger Global Management are leading a new funding round that sees secondhand marketplace Vestiaire Collective bring in $216 million in new funding, along with existing investors, including its CEO Max Bittner, Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast, and the Eurazeo Group, among others. The deal gives Paris-based Vestiaire “unicorn status” – i.e., puts a $1 billion-plus value on the privately-held company – and “ideally positions it for its next cycle of accelerated growth.” 

FY 2020


Dec. 9, 2020 – Exor Group acquires Shang Xia

Ferrari owner Exor Group announced that it will invest “around €80 million [$96.9 million] in Chinese brand Shang Xia via a reserved capital increase that will result in it becoming the company’s majority shareholder.” Exor noted that Hermès – which “has accompanied Shang Xia successfully throughout the initial phase of its development – will remain as an important shareholder alongside Exor and [founder] Jiang Qiong Er.”

Dec. 7, 2020 – Moncler acquires Stone Island

Moncler announced that it will acquire Italian fashion label Stone Island for $1.4 billion. The Milan-headquartered luxury outerwear company will “purchase 70 percent of Stone Island’s parent company SPW from Chief Executive Officer Carlo Rivetti and other members of his family, [and] then buy the remaining 30 percent from Singapore’s state investor Temasek” in furtherance of a two-step transaction. 

Nov. 9, 2020 – VF Corp. acquires Supreme for $2.1 billion

Three years after Supreme sold off a reported 50 percent stake to private equity giant Carlyle Group, VF Corp revealed that it will pay $2.1 billion to buy popular streetwear brand. The deal – which was formally completed on December 28, 2020 – saw VF Corp. take full ownership of Supreme, with current Supreme investors Carlyle Group and New York-based private equity firm Goode Partners agreeing to sell their stakes in the New York-based brand. 

Nov. 5, 2020 – Alibaba, Richemont invest $1.1 billion in Farfetch

Alibaba Group Holding and Richemont announced that they will invest $1.1 billion in online luxury fashion retailer Farfetch and its new marketplace in China. At the same time, Artemis – an investment vehicle tied to Gucci owner Kering – simultaneously announced that it would increase its stake in Farfetch with a $50 million injection of cash in exchange for Farfetch’s Class A ordinary shares. 

Oct. 29, 2020 – LVMH and Tiffany & Co. agree to $15.8 billion M&A

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. managed to salvage their meger deal, with the French luxury goods conglomerate agreeing to pay a few dollars less per share to acquire the New York-based jewelry company. In a statement, the parties confirmed that LVMH will pay $131.5 per Tiffany share, down from the $135/share price tag they initially agreed to in November 2019 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

*This article was initially published on March 1, 2021, and has been updated accordingly.

Nordstrom Inc. adopted a shareholder rights plan this week that the Seattle-headquartered retailer says will protect the interests of the company and all of its shareholders by reducing the likelihood that any entity will gain control. News of the “poison pill” – which went into immediate effect on Monday and is slated to run until September 19, 2023 – follows immediately from Mexican department store chain El Puerto de Liverpool S.A. de C.V. (“Liverpool”) disclosing that it has amassed a 9.9 percent stake in Nordstrom, making it the NYSE-traded company’s second-largest shareholder, following only behind former chairman Bruce Nordstrom. 

The adoption of a “poison pill” by Nordstrom, on its own, is not exactly earth-shattering news given that the implementation of such a plan is a common move for companies facing a potential takeover. “Companies have various tools in their toolbox to ward off unwanted advances,” according to Rooney Law’s Allan Rooney. “One of the most effective anti-takeover measures is the shareholder rights plan, also known as a poison pill, [which] is designed to block an investor from accumulating a majority stake in a company and taking control.” In Nordstrom’s case, in the event that a person or entity acquires 10 percent or more of its outstanding shares, the poison pill will entitle existing shareholders to acquire shares of the company at a significant discount with the aim of dissuading a takeover attempt by Liverpool by either making the company less desirable or by diluting the potential-acquirer’s existing ownership stake in the company. 

Not Fashion’s First Pill 

Certainly not the first headline-making shareholder rights plan to be utilized in fashion, Gucci famously enacted a poison pill plan in February 1999 to fend off an unwanted takeover by LVMH. Under the watch of then-CEO Domenico De Sole, the Italian fashion brand issued more than 20 million new shares for employees to acquire, thereby, diluting the 34.4 percent stake that LVMH had quietly acquired to 26 percent. Almost a decade later, Hermès revealed – after landing on the opposite end of an attempted LVMH takeover of its own, one that the Birkin bag-maker characterized as “hostile” – that its bylaws allow it to use poison pills to fend of unwanted bids.

Since then, poison pills – which were first utilized in the 1980s – have gained significant steam. “It is not uncommon at all for American companies, or companies with [domestic arms] that are incorporated in Delaware or some other U.S. state to utilize poison pills in a situation where someone accumulates a large block of stock and where the company’s board fears that [such an accumulation] will lead to a hostile takeover,” Brian JM Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School, who focuses on corporate law, M&A, and transaction structuring, told TFL. 

Just this year, one poison pill, in particular, took center stage, with Twitter’s board of directors adopting a strategy in April to “protect stockholders from coercive or otherwise unfair takeover tactics” from Tesla head Elon Musk. The move was effective, Quinn says, as it got Musk to “come to the table and pay a premium for the company.” (In furtherance of the $44 billion deal, Musk will pay $54.20 a share, a 38 percent premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022.)

A Dive into Nordstrom’s Plan

Nordstrom’s recently-revealed plan may not fall outside of the norm of what other companies’ boards would do when faced with such a situation, but there are, nonetheless, some interesting elements at play, most of which call into question Nordstrom’s claim that its implementation of the shareholder rights plan is not a response to any specific takeover bid. A close read between the lines suggests that there is more going on here (of course) than Nordstrom is letting on.

Primarily, it is worth noting that an unprompted adoption of a poison pill is unlikely, as it might not ultimately hold-up for Nordstrom if it is challenged by shareholders given that courts have been unwilling to let such plans stand without the company at issue being able to identify a threat of takeover that prompted the adoption of the plan. A concrete example on this front come out of Delaware relatively recently, with the Supreme Court upholding a Chancery Court decision in November 2021 that shot down oil pipeline company The Williams Cos Inc’s poison pill. Among other things, the court found that the pill adopted by the company in March 2020 (in the wake of a stunning stock market crash) was improper because it was not targeted at a particular threat. (The court also took issue with certain “extreme” provisions, which “seemed designed to circumscribe stockholder activism in general,” Sullivan & Cromwell stated in a note.) 

While Williams cited its desire to prevent stockholder activism during a time of market uncertainty as one of the threats at issue, especially given the fall of its stock price, the court determined that the company’s board was not aware of any specific activist efforts or potential takeovers at play, and struck down the pill.  

Beyond that, the time-limited nature of the poison pill – which expires on September 19, 2023 – further suggests that Nordstrom has, in fact, put the plan in place in direct response to Liverpool’s acquisition. “If nothing happens within the year [that the pill is in place], the pill goes away,” Quinn says, asserting that pill is purely “a defense against a potential acquirer” – Liverpool here – and thus, is “not intended to be there forever.” (In the event that Liverpool goes away in nine months, for example, the pill will disappear on its own after nine months. Or, in the alternative, if Liverpool is still around upon the expiration of the pill, Nordstrom’s board can adopt a new pill.)

The time-limited nature of the Nordstrom poison pill is noteworthy, as it seems to fall in line with a larger trend in corporate governance. Institutional investors and advisory firms do not like it when companies “just have poison pills in place,” according to Quinn, as “absent any other information, pills generally signal that a company is not for sale and even if someone were to come along with a high bid, the board might say no.” As such, this has led to a rise in limited “good governance” pills that expire. 

Against this background, the time limit put on the pill by Nordstrom almost certainly serves as “a message from the board to the company’s biggest institutional investors” that this is purely in response to a specific threat, per Quinn – and not a more general attempt to lock Nordstrom into the status quo on the ownership/operations front. 

Finally, the nature of Liverpool’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Nordstrom’s response are worthy of note, with Liverpool filing a Schedule 13G form (as opposed to a Schedule 13D) just days before Nordstrom put its poison pill into place. Used to report a party’s ownership of stock that exceeds 5 percent of a company’s total stock issue, the 13G is interesting here, as it means that Liverpool is characterizing itself as a “passive investor” and disclaiming any present intent to control the company – as opposed to a party with some intent to control or influence the management of the business (such as seeking a board seat), the latter of which would call for a 13D filing. 

Liverpool may be calling itself a passive investor in its filing (which could certainly change and result in an amended filing) and saying that its acquisition of a sizable block of Nordstrom stock comes in furtherance of an effort to “diversify its geographic foothold.” By putting a poison pill in place, Nordstrom is seemingly signaling that it does not believe Liverpool – and potentially for good reason. The types of parties that typically filed 13Gs are large institutional investors that have no interest in taking control of the underlying companies despite the volumes of stock they acquire. Liverpool stands out in that sense, as it is ”not an average passive investor,” just as Musk, who initially filed a 13G in connection with his stake in Twitter, is not a passive investor. 

Given Liverpool’s status as an operating business in the department store industry, Nordstrom is likely right to question its current “passive investor” claim and put a plan into place in order to ensure that it cannot enact a takeover without Nordstrom’s board being able to negotiate an attractive deal for its shareholders.

Secondary fashion sales are booming, with the global market for pre-owned apparel generating a whopping $40 billion per year, according to Boston Consulting Group, and growing at a rate of 15 percent per annum, as consumers increasingly tap into the online consignment segment, new market entrants rush to meet burgeoning demand, and existing players look to differentiate themselves and their value propositions. Against this background, funding keeps pouring into the secondary market – whether it be funneled into new resale platforms or already-established ones that are looking to expand their operations, including in an international capacity – and all the while, given the increasingly crowded nature of the market, consolidation is starting to come into effect, with existing entities joining forces to grab a bigger share of the market. 

With so much activity underway on the resale and rental space, we have put together a (running) timeline of investments and M&A events to provide a broad overview of which players are raising funds, which are merging together, and what the trajectory of this segment of the market – which only appears to be gaining in steam – looks like more generally … 

September 2022 – Impossible Kicks Raises $3 Million in Series A 

Sneaker and streetwear reseller Impossible Kicks (“IK”) announced the close of a $3 million Series-A equity raise on September 20, bringing its total funding raised to $7 million since its founding in February 2021. In a statement, IK expects $55 million-plus in sales in 2022, up from $15 million in sales in 2021. The Irvine, California-based company will use the cash to facilitate its “continued expansion plan across the United States, which includes two new locations prior to the end of the year and nine additional storefronts in 2023.” (As of Sept. 2022, the brand supports 15 storefronts across nine states – including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas.)

“With an unrivaled brick and mortar presence,” IK says it “will also augment its e-commerce and digital efforts, including the development of proprietary products.”

August 2022 – Reflaunt Raises $11 Million in Series A

Reflaunt closed its Series A round with a total of $11 million in funding, the the London and Singapore-based resale-as-a-service company announced on August 24. The close comes a couple of weeks after the circular fashion service provider first revealed that it had welcomed $5.2 million in funding from the likes of Bombyx Capital Partners, Shanghai-based Ventech China, and TLF Ventures. Global Blue, a Swiss-based tourism shopping tax refund company, also participated in the Series A round, along with early investors, including Swarovski’s creative director Giovanna Battaglia and American retail conglomerate Madaluxe Group.

Reflaunt says it will use the new cash to expand its services and secure new partnerships with luxury brands and retailers. “We have integrated the resale experience in the brand’s ecosystem, which allows us to record the product’s digital ID at the moment of check-out and foster a seamless resell-in-a-click experience when the customer is ready to give the product a second life,” Reflaunt co-foudner and CEO Stephanie Crespin said in a statement.

August 2022 – Trenbe Raises $25.2 Million in Series D

South Korea-based luxury goods marketplace Trenbe announced on August 22 that it raised 35 billion won ($25.2 million) in a Series D funding round, which included investors, such as IMM Investment and Atinum Investment. Gangnam-headquartered Trenbe says that it will use the funds to “diversify its business and improve customer experience.” The round follows from the company’s July 2020 Series B, in which it raised 11 billion won.

August 2022 – Sneaker Trading Co. Tradeblock Raises $8.9 Million in Seed II Round

Houston-based Tradeblock has raised more than $8.9 million in seed funding from investors Courtside VC, Trinity Ventures and Concrete Rose Capital, the company announced August 25. The company is planning a rolling close to its current Seed II round and expects to bring in an additional $4.5 million from investors by close. Launched in 2020, Tradeblock consists of a barter-based trading platform for shoe collectors. With the new funding, the company plans to invest in expanding its authentication and logistics efforts, as well as its data science capabilities to better enhance the platform’s virtual bartering experience.

July 2022 – Resale Platform Galaxy Raises $7 Million in Funding

Gen-Z-focused pre-owned fashion platform Galaxy has raised $7 million in new funding from investors that include Snap Inc’s Yellow Accelerator, Floodgate, RGH Capital, Turner Novack’s Banana Capital, and Homebrew. Launched in August 2021, the company combines live-shopping and fashion resale in order to “build entertaining and engaging experiences that generate explicit data” – via machine learning – “where users tell us what they like by interacting with our product,” CEO Danny Quick stated in announcing the round. The company says that it will use the newly-raised cash to implement “new, user-friendly features and increased opportunities for creators to feel empowered and earn a living on their own terms, in their own time.”

May 2022 – Carousell to Buy Up Refash

Singapore-based online classifieds giant Carousell has signed off on a deal to acquire secondhand retailer Refash for an undisclosed sum, as the resale market continues to grow in Asia. Carousell said in a statement that 7-year-old Refash, which touts itself as an “online thrift store,” will continue to operate its own brand, as distinct from the Carousell entity, and that the acquisition is expected to “drive a synergistic partnership between the two marketplaces.”

April 2022 – Sneaker Marketplace SoldOut Raises $33 Million

Korean sneaker marketplace SoldOut raised $33 million in a funding round led led by Korea online retail titan Musina and FinTech Dunamu. The nearly 2-year-old resale company will use the funds to fuel its expand into new product categories and build out its customer experience, including by upgrading its platform and opening a second inspection center in Seoul.

March 2022 – Vestiaire Acquires Tradesy

French resale company Vestiaire Collective announced its acquisition of Tradesy, “a U.S. pioneer in the fashion resale industry,” on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies said in a statement that by joining forces, they will “significantly increase the size and reach of their peer-to-peer marketplaces, to the direct benefit of their sellers and buyers. The combined company will boast a membership community of 23 million, a catalog of 5 million items and a Gross Merchandise Value exceeding $1 billion. Customers of both Vestiaire Collective and Tradesy will significantly benefit from the companies’ alliance.”

A screenshot from Tradesy's website

*As of August 2022, Vestaire announced that it would fold Tradesy into its own brand in furtherance of a larger effort to bolster its presence in the U.S. market.

FY 2021


December 2021 – Rebag Raises $35 Million in Series E

Rebag has raised $35 million in funding a Series E round, bringing the 6-year-old resale company’s total funding to $103 million. “Following a strong year driven by technological advances and category expansion,” Rebag says that the round – which was led by private equity firm Novator with participation from existing investors, such as General Catalyst – “positions [it] for its next cycle of innovation and accelerated growth,” and that the investment funds will be used to further build upon Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale, its proprietary software aimed at bringing transparency to the luxury resale industry. The company says it will also use the round to scale its tech-enabled brick-and-mortar business. 

December 2021 – Farfetch Acquires LUXCLUSIF

Fashion e-commerce platform Farfetch announced on December 9 that it has acquired resale platform LUXCLUSIF, including the company’s technology platform, for an undisclosed sum. This deal will allow FARFETCH to “significantly accelerate its resale capabilities through the development of key technology and service features such as automated pricing, and faster geographic and category expansion of its resale service, FARFETCH Second Life,” the London-based company stated.

Founded in 2013, LUXCLUSIF is a B2B service provider with “a successful turnkey solution enabling the acquisition, authentication and sale of second hand luxury goods to – and from – auctions, retailers, e-commerce platforms, and stores worldwide,” the companies said in a statement. “Together, FARFETCH and LUXCLUSIF can leverage these capabilities and positioning to become the global platform for pre-owned luxury for both customers and industry partners.”

November 2021 – eBay Acquires Sneaker Con’s Authentication Arm

eBay announced on November 29 that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Sneaker Con Digital under which it has acquired Sneaker Con’s authentication business, a leading sneaker authenticator with operations in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia and Germany. According to a statement from eBay, “The acquisition is an extension of the ongoing collaboration between [itself] and Sneaker Con, which has been critical to powering eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee. The service, which eBay launched in October 2020, offers full vetting and verification of select sneakers bought on the marketplace by a team of Sneaker Con’s industry experts.”

Additionally, the marketplace stated that its “Authenticity Guarantee has significantly changed the way people buy and sell sneakers on [its site], as evidenced by quarter over quarter category growth. In just over a year, more than 1.55 million sneakers have been authenticated globally on eBay.”

November 2021 – Marque Luxury Raises $20 Million

Marque Luxury has secured $20 million in funding through an investment by Provident Capital Partners, the Irvine, California-based reseller announced on November 19, saying that the round “follows a period of tremendous growth for MARQUE Luxury, which has opened numerous re-commerce hubs in the United States and several hubs in Asia during the last year and has aggressive plans for future expansion.” The 4-year old company says it will use the new cash to “drive continued business expansion on an operational scale focused mainly in North America,” to “support its omnichannel strategy and allows [it] to generate business activity in the global market on a business-to-business and business-to-business-to-consumer basis.”

November 2021 – StockX Acquires Scout

In its first acquisition, StockX has bought up Scout, a leading developer of power seller tools that is already serving more than 10,000 sneaker resellers around the world. StockX says that the new technology will enable it to “ramp up inventory” – which is, of course, the lifeblood of resale platforms and the primary driver of consumer demand – thanks to Scout’s “best-in-class automation, inventory management, tracking and integration with marketplaces.” At the same time, StockX states that the move will help its marketplace sellers to “accelerate their businesses,” presumably a bid to attract sellers in an increasingly competitive resale market, where no shortage of other resale players have taken to focusing on pre-owned sneakers and streetwear.

In addition to onboarding Scout’s product, StockX confirmed that it will bring on the company’s team three co-founders and seven employees, who “bring their deep experience as sneaker resellers and developers of inventory,” as aims to scale seller business operations.

Detroit-based StockX, which revealed that it surpassed 6.5 million lifetime buyers and 1 million lifetime sellers in the first half of 2021, has been building out its initially sneaker-focused offerings since its founding in 2016 and expanding internationally. In the wake of its latest funding round, a Series E-1 round that closed in April 2021, the company boasts a valuation of $3.8 billion valuation.

October 2021 – Poshmark Acquires Suede One

In its first-ever buy-side move, Poshmark announced on October 13 that it has acquired Suede One, an authentication platform that “combines machine learning, computer vision and expert human review to virtually authenticate sneakers,” with Suede One’s team joining Poshmark effective immediately. According to Poshmark, the acquisition “will scale [its] authentication capabilities and accelerate momentum in high-growth secondhand categories, especially sneakers and luxury,” and reflects the secondhand marketplace’s focus on “strategic investments that drive continued platform innovation, accelerate growth in high-growth resale categories and enhance the user experience to attract and retain both buyers and sellers.”

Founded in 2020, Suede One “has built impressive capabilities in virtual authentication that will allow us to deliver tangible benefits to our community, scale our authentication services in a meaningful way, and accelerate our momentum in sneakers as well as luxury goods, two of the fastest-growing categories in the resale space,” according to Poshmark founder and CEO Manish Chandra.

In a release on Wednesday, Poshmark detailed Suede One’s process, revealing that “for popular sneakers such as Jordan 1s and Yeezy 350s, Suede One can automatically authenticate the majority of submissions with greater than 99 percent accuracy, based on internal testing. For other sneaker types, human experts review the submission with help from the company’s proprietary authenticator tool.”

September 2021 – Vestiaire Raises $209 Million in Venture Round

French resale company Vestiaire has raised 178 million euros ($209 million) in a September 22 venture round which included participation from two new investors, SoftBank Group Corp and Generation Investment Management, bringing its valuation to $1.7 billion dollars. To date, Vestiaire has raised $663.3 million, per CrunchBase.

September 2021 – Tradesy Raises $67 Million in Series D Round

Resale platform Tradesy has raised $67 million in a September 16 Series D round led by led by Foris Ventures, which is Kleiner Perkins head John Doerr’s family office. To date, the company has raised $200.7 million over a series of eight rounds, according to CrunchBase. 

September 2021 – Grailed Closes $60 Million Series B Round

Men’s fashion and streetwear-centric marketplace Grailed announced the closing of a $60 million Series B funding round on September 16, which was led by fellow resale player GOAT Group and with participation from Groupe Artémis, along with existing investors Thrive Capital and Index Ventures. 

August 2021 – Trove Raises $77.5 Million in Series D

Trove Recommerce, which partners with brands to create online platforms for them to sell used goods, raised $77.5 million in an August 25 Series D round, led by G2 Venture Partners. 

June 2021 – GOAT Raises $195 Million in Series F Funding Round

Online sneaker and apparel marketplace GOAT Group has raised $195 million in a new funding round, which has “more than doubled its valuation to $3.7 billion.” The round for the 6-year-old Los Angeles-based company, which boasts some 30 million customers across 170 countries, was led by Park West Asset Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Franklin Templeton, Adage Capital Management and Ulysses Management.

June 2021 – Etsy Acquires Depop for $1.62 Billion

In a quest to target Gen-Z consumers (i.e., those born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s), who are driving both social shopping and largescale pushes in sustainability, Etsy announced that it will acquire burgeoning British shopping app Depop for $1.62 billion. 

May 2021 – Treet Raises $2.8 Million in Seed Round

Reseller Treet – which powers brands to set up their own resale sites where buyers and sellers can list and find items – raised $2.8 million in a May 26 seed round with participation from Bling Capital, Matchstick Ventures, Techstars, BAM Ventures, BBG Ventures, Green Meadow, Interlace Ventures, V1.VC and Alante Capital.

May 2021 – Vinted Raises $303 Million in Series F Round

Vinted raised 250 million euros ($303 million) in a May 12 Series F round, the Vilnius, Lithuania-founded online resale platform announced. According to a release from Vinted, which got its start in 2008 and boasts some 45 million users, the company “operates in over 10 markets, and has become the largest online C2C marketplace in second-hand fashion across Europe,” and will use the funding from the latest EQT Growth-led round – one that values the resale upstart at $4.3 billion – to expand its operations in Europe and “new geographies,” ramp up its hiring, and improve user experience. 

April 2021 – StockX Raises $195 Million in Secondary Market Round

StockX announced the conclusion of a $195 million secondary tender offering on April 8, as well as an additional $60 million in Series E-1 primary shares, boosting the streetwear and sneaker platform’s December 2020 valuation of $2.8 billion by 35 percent, and bringing its total funding to $690 million.

March 2021 – Vestiaire Raises $216 Million in Series H

Kering and American investment firm Tiger Global Management led a March 1 Series H funding round that saw secondhand marketplace Vestiaire Collective bring in $216 million in funding, along with existing investors, including its CEO Max Bittner, Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast, and the Eurazeo Group, among others. The deal gives Paris-based Vestiaire “unicorn status” – i.e., puts a $1 billion-plus value on the privately-held company – and “ideally positions it for its next cycle of accelerated growth.” 

February 2021 – Reflaunt Raises $2.7 Million in Pre-Series A

Second-hand fashion platform Reflaunt raised $2.7 million dollars in a pre-Series A funding round from investors including former Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis and Ganni founder and former CEO Nicolaj Reffstrup, among others, with an aim to “offer a variety of resale models to more leading global brands” and to allow consumers to resell pre-owned products “directly on the brands’ individual e-commerce platforms.” 

January 2021 – GOAT Welcomes “Strategic Investment” from Groupe Artemis

GOAT Group announced on January 19 that it would welcome a “strategic investment” from Groupe Artemis – the controlling shareholder of Kering – as it “continues its expansion in fashion apparel and new categories.” The undisclosed Artemis investment comes on the heels of a Series E round of $100 million announced in September 2020, which valued the company at $1.75 billion. 

Funding is flowing into the metaverse and broader web3 endeavors. Since March 2021, sales of non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) have made headlines – both for the eye-watering prices that some were commanding at auction and for the potential for NFTs to become a robust market, as brands appeared to be eager to market themselves and connect with consumers by way of these relatively novel pieces of technology. For Q3 in 2021, Forbes reported that the sale of NFTs had amounted to $10.7 billion in Q3 2021, a more than 8-fold increase from the previous quarter. As of January 2022, the monthly volume of NFT sales on the OpenSea marketplace hit an all-time high of $5 billion. 

Fast forward to October 2021 and Facebook, Inc.’s announcement that it would rebrand to Meta, Inc. in furtherance of a shift away from being a social media company to becoming “a metaverse company,” seemingly solidified a larger shift among companies that a blend of “real” and virtual worlds is the future. 

Against that background, brands have launched various ventures in the metaverse – from Gucci’s Garden pop-up in the Roblox metaverse (complete with virtual Gucci-branded handbags and apparel) to Nike’s “Nikeland” experience – and at the same time, rushed to file trademark applications for registration for their current (or far more frequently, their impending) uses of their trademarks on virtual goods/services and NFTs. 

All the while, cash has been flowing into the space (with more than $2 billion and $62.8 billion being invested in augmented reality ventures and virtual world projects, respectively, in 2021, per CrunchBase), and at least a one major acquisition has taken place. With so much activity underway when it comes to the virtual world, from metaverse ventures to crypto funds, we have put together a (running) timeline of investments and M&A events to provide a broad overview of which players are raising funding, getting acquired, and what the trajectory of this segment of the market – which only appears to be gaining in steam – looks like more generally … 

Sept. 13, 2022 – Doodles Raises $54 Million in New Round

Doodles announced that it has raised $54 million in equity funding, backed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, along with Acrew Capital, FTX Ventures and 10T Holdings. Founded in 2021, the web3 NFT, media, and entertainment brand says it will use the funding “to rapidly acquire a world-class team of engineers, creatives, marketers and business executives, as well as to fund product development, acquisitions, proprietary technology, media, and collector experiences.” Doodles is looking to grow its team from 11 people to 30. On the heels of announcing the appointment of Pharrell Williams as chief brand officer in June, Doodles revealed that it recently hired a head of brand partnerships.

“We want to create products for our core collector base, but at the same time utilize these great forms of marketing like music, to introduce new people to Web3 and onboard them into the Doodles ecosystem,” Vancouver-based Doodles CEO Julian Hoguin says.

Sept. 7, 2022 – Tencent Boosts Investment, as Ubisoft Entertainment Looks to Metaverse

Tencent Holdings Ltd is raising its stake in Ubisoft Entertainment SA in a deal that values the games developer at about $10 billion, per Reuters. In addition to falling in line with the enduring trend of “deep-pocketed Chinese tech majors continuing their overseas search for growth,” the Tencent, Ubisoft deal is notable in that it comes as Montreuil, France-headquartered Ubisoft – and other traditional gaming companies – increasingly eye the metaverse to generate revenue from their existing IP. Early this year, for instance, Animoca Brands, the Hong Kong-based blockchain company behind The Sandbox, announced that it had formed a strategic partnership with Ubisoft, in which Ubisoft would receive its own land on the Sandbox’s metaverse platform and develop game experiences with NFTs in the virtual world.

August 25, 2022 – Nreal Raises $15 Million to Build Out AR Efforts

Nreal announced a $15 million investment from luxury eyewear brand Gentle Monster’s parent company, IICOMBINED, in furtherance of its focus on the consumer augmented reality (“AR”) market. The parties say that they are “exploring new collaboration opportunities to push the boundaries of fashion and technology,” with the investment coming as San Francisco-based “Nreal makes strides in expanding the appeal of AR [eyewear] to a broader audience base [and] delivering on the promise of AR for consumers everywhere.”

“This investment is an exciting try for the combination and exploration for the boundary of fashion and tech. In the future, we will leverage both parties’ strength and make joint efforts to create more possibilities,” said Hankook Kim, co-founder of Gentle Monster and CEO of IICOMBINED.

June 30, 2022 – Metaverse Platform Mona Raises $14.6 Million in Series A Round

Mona has raised a $14.6 million in a Series A round co-led by Protocol Labs, Archetype and Collab+Currency. The San Francisco-based company touts itself as providing “the first and only platform and network for creators to build, mint, and sell interactive metaverse worlds as NFTs.” In a statement, Mona CEO and co-founder Justin Melillo said, “With the closing of this round, we will continue to grow our global, vibrant community of builders as we onboard thousands of new creators to the open metaverse and web3. The metaverse doesn’t have to belong to big tech companies – it can, and will, be a place for everyone.”

June 23, 2022 – Gucci Invests in SuperRareDAO Ahead of Exhibition Launch

Gucci has entered into a partnership with NFT marketplace SuperRare, acquiring $25,000 in $RARE tokens to join the SuperRareDAO, and launch its the Vault Art Space. “The vault is Gucci’s digital space,” SuperRare co-founder and chief product officer Jonathan Perkins said this week. “And they are going to be working with artists and selling art through their space, which will be powered by SuperRare technology. The brand’s acquisition of RARE tokens gives it rights in the decentralized autonomous organization that governs the SuperRare platform. According to SuperRare, “Members of the community who hold governance tokens” – i.e., $RARE, the new SuperRare curation token – “can use them to vote on issues and decisions that affect the organization.”

June 23, 2022 – LincTex Digital Raises $100 Million for Digital Fashion Push

LincTex Digital raised $100 million in a round led by Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investments, with the Hangzhou-based company, which does business as Style3D, saying that it will use the funds for international expansion and to make further inroads into the digital fashion realm. “From developing virtual try-on technologies and 3D body scanning in the beginning,” Reuters reported that Style3D has now “broadened its offering to include digital services for fashion designers and manufacturers so they can use big data to design and produce fashion collections.”

June 22, 2022 – EBay Acquires NFT Marketplace KnownOrigin

eBay has acquired NFT marketplace KnownOrigin for an undisclosed sum, the parties confirmed in a release. Facilitating nearly $8 million in NFT trading since its founding in 2018, Manchester, UK-based KnownOrigin states that its “technology and platform provides artists with a place to create unique, authentic, digital collectibles, in the form of NFTs.” The deal is “an important step in eBay’s tech-led reimagination,” the parties revealed, “ushering in a new era of digital collecting to the world’s top destination for collectibles.”

“eBay is the first stop for people across the globe who are searching for that perfect, hard-to-find, or unique addition to their collection and, with this acquisition, we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles,” said Jamie Iannone, CEO of eBay. “KnownOrigin has built up an impressive, passionate and loyal group of artists and collectors making them a perfect addition to our community of sellers and buyers. We look forward to welcoming these innovators as they join the eBay community.”  

June 19, 2022 – Endstate Raises $5.5 Million in Seed Round

Combining NFTs with proprietary technology to definitively link physical products to digital assets, Endstate announced a $5.5 million seed round with investors including Archetype Ventures, Accomplice Ventures, Road Capital, and CMS Holdings, among others. Founded in 2020 by Bennett Collen and Stephanie Howard, Massachusetts-based Endstate says that it will use the funding to “help us reach the Endstate sooner — accelerating our product development and innovation roadmaps, and allowing us to continue to hire world-class talent.”

May 22, 2022 – BUD Raises $37 Million in Series B

BUD has raised $37 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India, with participation from Chinese billionaire William Lei Ding’s company NetEase, Chinese VC firms ClearVue Partners, and Northern Light Venture Capital, along with existing investors GGV Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and Source Code Capital. The Singapore-based metaverse startup will use the funds to “launch Web3 products, the next generation of the internet that runs on blockchains,” and will also introduce NFT projects to allow users to “own and trade virtual assets derived from the metaverse,” per Forbes. The round follows from BUD’s Series A round, which was completed in February.

May 10, 2022 – Arianee Raises €20 Million in Series A Round

Arianee, the leading end to end web3 solution for brands, has raised a €20 million ($21.09 million) in a Series A led round by Tiger Global. Existing investors Bpifrance, ISAI, Noia Capital and Cygni Labs, joined the round, along with Commerce Ventures, Motier Ventures and Pierre Denis, former CEO of Jimmy Choo. In a release on Tuesday, Paris-based Arianne stated that “web3 is a unique opportunity for companies and individuals to regain control over their digital presence, especially their data, [and] it’s the time for businesses to free themselves from the dependency on big platforms and lead new usage and innovation.”

An end to end web3 solution built to create, distribute and interact with NFTs, including by enabling brands to tokenize, distribute and leverage value through NFTs, Arianee says it will use the new funds to accelerate its international presence by growing its New York office, recruiting new talent and continuing the development of its products and services. The 4-year old company says its staff has tripled since its last funding round in March 2021, and it currently boasts more than 50 clients and partners (including IBM and the metaverse The Sandbox) in Europe and North America. 

May 4, 2022 – immi App Secures $50 Million Valuation Following Seed Round

Mark Cuban, singer Pitbull, Zoom founder Eric Yuan, DJ Steve Aoki, and Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media are among the investors in a seed round for animation app immi, a round that an immi spokesman says values the company at $50 million. Immi characterizes itself as “the only real-time animation platform making full-body 3D cinema-quality characters and facial tracking technology accessible to anyone, anywhere.”

May 2, 2022 – Yuga Labs Raises $285 Million in Virtual Land Sale

Yuga Labs. the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection of NFTs, raised approximately $285 million worth of cryptocurrency by selling tokens that represent land in a virtual world game it says it is building. In an online sale on April 30, Yuga Labs sold NFTs called “Otherdeeds,” which can exchanged as plots of virtual land in a Bored Ape-themed online environment called “Otherside” that is expected to launch in the near future, per Reuters. The 55,000 Otherdeeds that were offered up were purchasable using the Yuga-created ApeCoin cryptocurrency

Apr 11, 2022 – Epic Games Raises $2 Billion in Funding for Metaverse Endeavor

Fortnite creator Epic Games raised $2 billion from Sony Group and Kirkbi, the family owned holding company behind the Lego Group, in a deal that values the company at $31.5 billion. Epic will use the new cash to help fund the kid-focused metaverse endeavor that it announced last month in partnership with Lego. “As we reimagine the future of entertainment and play we need partners who share our vision. We have found this in our partnership with Sony and Kirkbi,” said Tim Sweeney, the CEO and founder Epic Games, in a statement. “This investment will accelerate our work to build the metaverse and create spaces where players can have fun with friends, brands can build creative and immersive experiences and creators can build a community and thrive.”

“All three companies highly value both creators and players, and aim to create new social entertainment exploring the connection between digital and physical worlds,” the companies said in a statement.

Apr 8, 2022 – The Fabricant Raises $14 Million

Digital fashion brand The Fabricant raised $14 million in a Series A round led by Greenfield One, and with participation from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, and Red DAO, and among others. The Netherlands-based company says that the funding will be used to support and expand its co-creation and NFT platform, The Fabricant Studio, which enables “everyday users to become creators [and] craft high-end digital fashion NFTs in collaboration with their favorite brands,” according to Maaria Bajwa, Investor at Sound Ventures.

Jascha Samadi, Partner of Greenfield One said in a statement, “Within virtual environments we are likely going to have multiple digital reflections of our physical self. The Fabricant Studio allows any creator to become their own fashion designer in the metaverse — paired with Web3 technology, digital fashion becomes unique, tradeable and accessible for the masses. The team behind The Fabricant identified this paradigm of user-generated fashion very early on, long before NFTs caught mainstream attention.”

Mar 22, 2022 – Kering Among Investors in $1.5 Billion Haun Ventures Raise

French luxury goods group Kering is among the investors in former Andreessen Horowitz general partner Katie Haun’s new crypto fund, Haun Venture. Haun Ventures will invest in “both start-up equity, and in some cases the cryptocurrencies issued by those start-ups, also known as tokens,” per CNBC, which reported that Haun’s fund will be divided into two segments: $500 million for early-stage companies and protocols, and $1 billion for later-stage projects.

Mar 22, 2022 – Yuga Labs Valued at $4 Billion Following Round

Yuga Labs announced that is now at valued at $4 billion, following a $450 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, a16z crypto. According to Reuters, “Metaverse gaming company Animoca and its subsidiary, The Sandbox, and crypto exchange FTX are also among the investors that participated in the latest round.”

Mar 18, 2022 – Universal Music Acquires BAYC NFT for $360K

Universal Music Group has acquired Bored Ape #5537, a female character NFT now known as Manager Noët All, from its former owner for $360,817. The digital asset will join the digital musical group, Kingship, that Universal’s next-gen label 10:22PM created in November 2021. The group initially consisted of four “rare Golden Fur and Bluebeam Apes” from Yuga Labs’ collection of Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs. According to Reuters, “Kingship, which exists solely in digital form, will have its own website and presence on messaging platform Discord, and will eventually produce new music and give virtual performances in the metaverse.”

Mar 11, 2022 – Yuga Labs Acquires CryptoPunks, Meebits from Larva

Yuga Labs, the titan behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs, announced that it has “acquired the IP of the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT collections from Larva Labs,” another giant in the digital assets space, which means that Yuga now “owns the brands, copyright in the art, and other IP rights for both collections, along with 423 CryptoPunks and 1711 Meebits.” The company says that its first move will be to grant CryptoPunks and Meebits holders “the same commercial rights that BAYC and MAYC owners enjoy” in a move that “further align[s] CryptoPunks and Meebits with the web3 ethos.” 

Mar 8, 2022 – UNXD Raises $4 Million

UNXD announced that it has raised a $4 million funding round led by Animoca Brands, Polygon Studios, and Red DAO. In addition to partnering with brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana, to create NFTs, the B2B metaverse-focused company also hosts a Polygon-based (Ethereum-compatible) digital luxury fashion marketplace, which is says is the home of “the best of digital luxury and culture.” Founded in 2021 by Nick Gonzalez and Shashi Menon, UNXD states that it will use the new cash to further scale its “team, ecosystem, and roster of partner brands.”

Mar 7, 2022 – Space Runners Raises $10 Million 

Metaverse fashion brand Space Runners has raised $10 million in a funding round co-led by Polychain and Pantera Capital, and including Accel, Jump Crypto, Animoca Brands Chairman Yat Siu, and Twitch co-founder Justin Kan. “We are designing and launching fashion items as NFT collections, which is ongoing,” Space Runners CEO Deniz Özgür stated. “But we are also launching the first phase of our fashion metaverse. Rather than just an urban cyber style, we are giving more weight to beauty and aesthetics, and we’ve been collaborating with some of the most popular fashion agencies in New York.”

Mar 7, 2022 – Immutable Raises $200 Million

Immutable raised $200 million from investors led by Singapore’s Temasek, valuing the Australian NFT startup at $2.5 billion, the company announced. Investors include Mirae Asset, ParaFi Capital, Declaration Partners, and Tencent Holdings, among others.

Mar 3, 2022 – Nifty League Raises $5 Million in Seed Round

Nifty League, a leading NFT gaming platform, today announced the close of a $5 million seed investment round led by New York-based private investment firm RSE Ventures, along with Spartan Group, Lerer Hippeau, VaynerFund, Private Ventures Group, DraftKings Co-founder Matthew Kalish, and Gallery Media Group CEO Ryan Harwood, among others. Launched in September 2021, Nifty League is bringing “competitive gaming to Web3 – moving away from play-to-earn into a new era of play-and-earn by offering a fun and engaging gaming ecosystem.” 

Feb 25, 2022 – CollectID Raises $3.5 Million in Seed Round

CollectID closed a $3.5 million seed funding round led by SeventySix Capital and Hellen’s Rock. The Swiss-based startup combines NFT technology, backed by an immutably secure blockchain, through a tamper-proof NFC tag to provide a secure and unique identity for each product that can be applied to the majority of physical objects including clothes, accessories, shoes, watches.

Feb 22, 2022 – Metamall Raises $400K in Latest Round

Metamall, a metaverse start-up that allows buyers to own, build and develop virtual real estate has closed its Initial Dex Offering – or “IDO” – to raise $400k with the supply of 80 million tokens. With this round and previous funding (Metamall previously raised $4.6 million in its seed, strategic and private rounds and more than $2 million through NFT sales), Metamall announced that it is the first retail commerce-themed metaverse platform in the world to raise funding more than $7 million from private and public investors.

Feb 21, 2022 – Jambo Raises $7.5 Million in Seed Round

Jambo raised $7.5 million in seed funding in furtherance of Africa’s most notable metaverse venture. The Congo-based startup is angling to build Africa’s web3 user acquisition portal through “learn, play, earn” and democratizing access to crypto-based income-generation opportunities. According to TechCrunch, “Experts say Africa is poised to be disrupted by web3 in a similar fashion that has seen Southeast Asia become one of the best markets for web3.”

Feb 14, 2022 – BUD Raises $15 Million in Series A+

BUD raised $15 million funding in a Series A+ round. Founded by former Snap engineers Shawn Lin and Risa Feng in 2019, BUD allows users to create customizable 3D experiences and interact with others by way of its app. 

Feb 13, 2022 – BNV.ME Raises $4 Million to “Elevate NFT Experiences in the Metaverse”

Brand New Vision Ltd, the company behind BNV.ME, the leading platform taking fashion into Web3.0 through 3D Product Creation, NFT sales, and Future Wearability, completed a $4 million Series A funding round led by Animoca Brands. In a statement, BNV.ME said that the funding will enable it to further expand its capabilities for creating elevated NFT experiences across the metaverse offerings that already exist and those that are under development, as well as growing its visibility and presence across the worlds of fashion, gaming, and crypto communities.

Feb 3, 2022 – nfinite Raises $15 million in Series A

Next-generation visualization and e-commerce merchandising provider nfinite raised $15 million in Series A funding led by US Venture Partners. New York-based nfinite stated that the funding would be used to accelerate development of its SaaS 3D visualization platform and to scale the company’s operations in North America. 

FY 2021


Dec 13, 2021 – Nike Acquires RTFKT

NIKE, Inc. announced that it would acquire RTFKT, “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.” Nike President and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement that the acquisition is “another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” and one that will help to “extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.” Terms of the deal were not announced. 

Nov 22, 2021 – Niantic Raises $300 Million to Build “Real-World Metaverse”

Niantic, the augmented reality platform behind Pokémon GO, raised $300 million from Coatue, valuing the company at $9 billion. The San Francisco-based startup announced that it will use the funding to build the “real-world metaverse.”

Nov 5, 2021 – VNTANA Brings Funding to $12.5 Million

VNTANA, the industry leader in 3D Content Management Software, closed its latest round of funding, with investment from Mark Cuban, former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, Flexport and Anorak Ventures, among others, bringing its total funding to $12.5 million in total. VNTANA says that its tech “makes it easy for brands across fashion, footwear, furniture, tools, sporting goods, and more” – including Ugg-owner Deckers Brands, Staud and Diesel – “to share and embed 3D and AR for sales and marketing use.” 

Oct 13, 2021 – Stage11 Raises a €5 Million Seed Round

Immersive music experience startup Stage11 raised a 5 million euro seed round led by Otium Capital, a European venture capital fund, backed up by founder and CEO, Jonathan Belolo. Stage11 stated that it is “setting out to redefine the interactive music experience by combining gaming, mixed reality, and digital collectibles,” including by building “a new creative canvas for artists, allowing them to invite fans to live, play, and create inside their performances and musical worlds.” 

May 5, 2021 – RTFKT Raises $8 Million 

RTFKT raised $8 million in a round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and that includes Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill, Behance co-founder Scott Belsky, artist Fewocious, and former LVMH Chief Digital Officer Ian Rogers, among others, in furtherance of its quest to “empower the future of fashion.” The round valued the company – which was not even 2 years old at the time – at $33.3 million.

Apr 21, 2021 – The Fabricant Announces Funding Round

Leading virtual fashion firm The Fabricant announced the close of an undisclosed funding round in furtherance of its aim to “create tools and products that transform the fashion industry into a fully digital existence in both production and consumption, while democratizing fashion creation into a collaborative process utilizing 3D technology and the creativity of the consumer, accessible to everyone.” Participants in the round included 4impact, Borski Fund and Slingshot.

Richemont and Farfetch are making good on a highly-anticipated deal that will see Farfetch further its quest to build the leading global luxury marketplace by acquiring a 47.5 percent “non-controlling” stake in its closest rival Yoox-Net-a-Porter (“YNAP”). In exchange, Richemont will get a 10 to 11 percent stake in Farfetch and a 2.7 billion euro ($2.7 billion) write-down. There is more to the transaction: In a statement this week, the parties also revealed that Emirati businessman Mohamed Alabbar will convert his stake in an existing YNAP joint venture into a 3.2 percent stake in YNAP. Taken together, Richemont and Farfetch say that this will make YNAP “a neutral industry-wide platform,” and position Farfetch to “potentially acquire the remaining shares in YNAP.”

Amid all of the YNAP-deal-centric headlines, there are a few elements worth considering at a bit more closely. Primarily, there is the timing of the announcement. While sources close to the matter previously told TFL that it would be made public in September, it is difficult not to suspect that mounting pressure from activist shareholder Bluebell Capital Partners may have prompted a shortened timeline. London-based Bluebell – which has been a Richemont shareholder for “1.5 years and had a stake worth 105 million Swiss francs ($109 million)” as of July, per Reuters – has been publicly pushing for change at the world’s second largest luxury goods group. In particular, the firm has been angling to get its co-founder Francesco Trapani on the Richemont board to represent investors holding A-class stock. (SIX Swiss Exchange-traded Richemont is controlled by Chairman Johann Rupert, who owns all the non-listed category B shares in the company.) 

At the same time, Bluebell is urging Richemont to focus its efforts on its jewelry and watches divisions, which include brands, such as Cartier, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others, which it believes will enable the company to double its share price in the medium term.

Against that background and in light of Richemont’s quickly-approaching Annual General Meeting on September 7, it makes sense that Rupert’s group is looking to “satisfy the first and ‘easiest’ of Bluebell’s demands,” Jefferies analysts Flavio Cereda and Kathryn Parker stated in a recent note, referring to a deconsolidation of YNAP. This is especially likely, they contend, as Richemont “has been working on this [transaction] for a very long time (presumably not helped by Farfetch’s collapse in share price) and has spent north of 30 million euros on fees, etc.”

In addition to reaching a deal ahead of what is expected to be a “volatile” shareholder meeting next month, the Jefferies analysts note that the announcement was timed “24 hours ahead of Farfetch’s Q2 print when presumably this topic would have been intensely debated.”

What About Alibaba? 

Another element of the YNAP agreement that has gone relatively unexplored is the noticeable absence of Alibaba, which was at the center of in a mega-deal that first brought Farfetch and Richemont together back in November 2020. Richemont and Alibaba invested a combined $1.1 billion in Farfetch, and a new venture specifically aimed at the Chinese market. The partnership between Farfetch, Alibaba, and Richemont appeared to be a neat precursor to another transaction, namely, Richemont selling off at least part of YNAP to Farfetch or to Alibaba. 

Alibaba, however, is nowhere to be found in the latest undertaking, potentially the result of issues that the Hangzhou, China-headquartered company has been facing – from its stock crash this spring and its inclusion on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s list of companies at risk of being delisted from U.S. exchanges due to a long-running dispute over the auditing to its (and other Chinese tech giants’) dealings with the Chinese regulators over algorithm data. “In the end, it seems to us that Farfetch [is] the only possible acquirer of YNAP (no sign of Alibaba or the brands often mentioned),” per Cereda – and it “called a lot of the shots here.” 

As for the other, “often mentioned” brands that are similarly absent from the Richemont-Farfetch deal, the most obvious is Artemis, the Pinault family investment arm that controls Kering, which is an existing investor in Farfetch. Richemont and Kering are closely aligned: They maintain a strategic eyewear partnership (Kering Eyewear produces glasses for Cartier and other Richemont-owned brands), recently launched a joint jewelry-and-watch sustainability project, and have prompted reports of a prospective merger of their own over the years.

LVMH was almost certainly never in the cards given long-running strife between the two groups and their respective leaders Rupert and Bernard Arnault. One of the latest manifestations of that clash is the legal battle that Cartier is waging against Tiffany & Co., accusing the LVMH-owned jewelry company of poaching employees and stealing trade secrets to build up its “high jewelry” business. And at the same time, Richemont is currently pushing back against Bluebell’s attempts to secure a spot for Francesco Trapani on the Richemont board on the basis that the former CEO of LVMH’s Bulgari brand maintains “a personal relationship with that group’s main shareholder,” Arnault, and is generally “too closely associated” with rival LVMH. 

With those big players out of the equation, Richemont and Farfetch seem to have swapped in another big-wig, Emaar Properties CEO and chairman Mohamed Alabbar, as an integral part of the deal. While Alabbar (via his investment firm Symphony Global) is touted in Wednesday’s release as a key player in the Richemont-Farfetch “partnership,” that may be more marketing spin than cold-hard-fact. There is a chance, after all, that Alabbar – whose Emaar Properties is the force behind real estate like the sweeping and luxury-packed Dubai Mall – simply converted his 40 percent stake in a Middle East-focused joint venture with YNAP into 3.2 percent of YNAP shares because it was the most seamless approach. It is arguably also the only move that makes much sense for Alabbar from a liquidity perspective; assuming that Farfetch does ultimately acquire the remaining stake in YNAP from Richemont, Alabbar’s stake in YNAP will convert to Farfetch stock. 

Looking beyond the parties to what Richemont and Farfetch are rightly calling “a landmark transaction,” the deal raises some questions for others, such as Armani, for example, which is the only sizable name that still relies on YNAP’s Online Flagship Stores (“OFS”) division to power its e-commerce operations. Given that OFS is “carved out of the transaction” and will remain with Richemont, Armani will be put in a difficult position in the event that Richemont is unwilling to provide the investment and other necessary resources/features that Armani requires to run its e-commerce business. In a likelihood, Armani will be left with little choice but to internalize its e-commerce operations as quickly as possible to reduce losses in online sales. 

Moving Forward

Looking ahead, Richemont has a put option requiring Farfetch to acquire all the remaining YNAP shares that Farfetch does not own at the time of exercise, at fair market value, exercisable at any time from the third to the fifth anniversary of completion of the initial stage of the transaction. This is subject to YNAP achieving positive adjusted EBITDA in the 12-month period prior to exercise, as well as in three of the four quarters over that same 12-month period. In other words, if YNAP does not turn a profit within the next five years, Farfetch is not obligated to complete the merger. 

If things go as planned, Richemont will become Farfetch’s second-largest shareholder, following only behind Farfetch founder José Neves, a prospect that Rupert is enthusiastic about. The Richemont chairman says he is “excited about the deal, and about Richemont’s future now that YNAP is hitched to Farfetch.” 

As for who will lead the charge at the “new” YNAP, the parties confirmed that they will replace current CEO Geoffroy Lefebvre, who was appointed by Richemont in late 2020, upon completion of the first stage of the agreement. One name is, of course, enticing to consider: Natalie Massenet, whose company Net-a-Porter was wholly owned by Richemont when it was merged with Yoox in September 2015. As much of a full-circle moment as having Massenet at the helm would be, such an appointment is probably unlikely. Massenet’s departure from Net-a-Porter right before the close of Richemont’s move to merge Net-a-Porter with Yoox was reported to be “abrupt” and “fraught,” and as TFL previously speculated here, given the history here, it would not make for an uncomplicated appointment. 

A Monopolized Market in the Making?

With Richemont and Farfetch embarking on a powerful partnership after the close of the first stage of the tie-up, which is slated for the end of 2023, and a potential merger after that, it will be striking to watch what other occupants of the luxury e-commerce space do now. More than any other player, the ball seems to be in MyTheresa’s court, with the Munich-based luxury e-commerce retailer soon to be facing off against a mightier combination of two unified titans. 

Chances are, NYSE-traded MyTheresa’s management has been preparing for this day since November 2020, and has a strategy for how it can differentiate itself and compete against YNAP and Farfetch – not on size but by way of a distinctive selection of brands, exclusive collections, etc., and the upsides that come with being more niche, including the inherent agility. Still yet, MyTheresa – which has a strong handle on product selection, curation, and editorial content, and boasts an engaged pool of high-value customers – has a year and a half to continue to gain ground since the integration of Farfetch and YNAP will be difficult and distracting for the parties, which is something that it can benefit from. The same is true for YNAP and Fafetch’s other competitors, including LUISAVIAROMA and SSENSE.

(It will also be interesting to see how quickly – and easily – Farfetch will be able to get Richemont’s brands on its marketplace and using its proprietary Farfetch Platform Solutions to execute their e-commerce operations. These two elements play no small role in the scenario, as Farfetch is reportedly very keen to get its hands on Cartier’s .com operations and eConcession, in particular. Brands like Cartier could prove to be challenging in that they will certainly demand significant personalization/customization from Farfetch’s platform that may or may not currently exist.)

Finally, with two of the biggest names in the luxury e-commerce space seemingly on track for an ultimate merger, it is tempting to wonder whether the space will operate as a monopoly – or whether a combination of YNAP and Farfetch would be blocked by regulators for this very reason. 

Chances are, this is not a monopoly in the making. After all, while YNAP and Farfetch are the giants in their arena, there will always be a bigger player out there than even the two of them combined: Amazon. And while Jeff Bezos’s venture may not have cracked the code on selling luxury goods (yet), it still sells an estimated $65 billion-plus of apparel and footwear each year, making it the behemoth in the fashion/apparel space – so much so that it unquestionably knocks Farfetch’s “record” gross merchandise value in 2021 of $4.2 billion and YNAP’s annual GM, which reached $2.6 billion for FY2022 (excluding its OFS division), down to size.  

Farfetch’s stock, which jumped by 21.3 percent in the wake of the YNAP news, is up again today following its Q2 earnings report on Thursday. Richemont’s share price rose 3 percent following the announcement on Wednesday, but is down by more than 3 percent as of the time of publication.