If Amazon is truly serious about getting into the world of high fashion, an acquisition like this would be a very strong move.
According to a report from Women's Wear Daily, Amazon is eyeing online fashion retailer Net-a--Porter. The price could be somewhere just under two billion euros. Net-a-Porter is owned by Richemont, a Swiss luxury good holding company. According to WWD, Net-a-Porter isn't really a core part of "its hard luxury business," so it might be looking to spin it off.
Asked generally about Net-a-porter's future at Richemont, Luca Solca, managing director at Exane BNP Paribas, said a possible scenario is for the luxury group to monetize the value of the fashion e-tailer, and sell it to a company willing to invest in pure-play luxury retail in the long term.
"One ideal candidate for that could potentially be Amazon," Solca told WWD. "Amazon needs a separate mall to engage in luxury credibly, sort of what Tao Bao does with Tmall." Earlier this year, Solca floated the idea of an initial public offering or divestment of Net-a-porter, and said it would be "a positive" for Richemont.
If it happens, it would be Amazon's biggest acquisition ever.
Forbes says that the talks are in their early stages, and "could still fall apart." Forbes says that if it goes through, the price will likely be a little less than what Women's Wear Daily reported.
Amazon has dabbled in fashion, of course, but high fashion has never been the focus of the retail giant. It acquired Shopbop in 2006, Zappos in 2009, and MyHabit in 2011 – but this acquisition would be the most substantial in more ways than one. Could it make Amazon a destination of luxury goods, instead of just lower cost deals? That's no doubt what Amazon is looking to do, if it's even considering this buy.