8 Major Fashion M&A Deals That Have Already Happened in 2018

Here, what you need to know about the biggest deals in the mergers and acquisitions space that transpired in the first few months of 2018.

1. JD Sports Acquires Finish Line

Following months of speculation about its future, Finish Line Inc. announced earlier this week that JD Sports would buy the retailer in a $558 million deal. The European athletic powerhouse will acquire 100 percent of the issued and outstanding Finish Line shares at a price of $13.50 apiece in cash, with the merger agreement expected to close no earlier than June. “Finish Line has long admired JD and their commitment to serve customers with premium brands through a unique and innovative retail experience,” said Finish Line CEO Sam Sato in a release. “We are thrilled to partner with them and look forward to realizing the impact we will have on the marketplace together.”

2. Richemont Takes Over Yoox Net-a-Porter Group

On March 14, Italian stock market regulator Consob approved the Compagnie Financière Richemont’s offer document to buy the remaining shares in Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, with the total value amounting to 2.69 billion euros, or $3.31 billion. “With this new step, we intend to strengthen Richemont’s presence and focus on the digital channel, which is becoming critically important in meeting luxury consumers’ needs,” Richemont CEO Johann Rupert said. Federico Marchetti, founder of Yoox and CEO of YNAP, added that the move was a “historic event” for the luxury e-commerce destination. The bid valued YNAP at about 5.3 billion euros.

3. Alibaba Invests $20M in Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway reportedly landed a $20 million investment from Alibaba co-founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai about two weeks ago in a move that could fuel the company’s international expansion and allow for the launch of more brick-and-mortar stores. A filing obtained by Recode indicated that the new funding came from asset management firm Blue Pool Capital, which makes investments on behalf of both Ma and Tsai.

4. Fosun Buys Majority Stake in Lanvin

Trouncing Qatari rival Mayhoola Group’s bid, Fosun International announced on Feb. 22 that it acquired a majority stake in Lanvin, which is facing a liquidity crisis. In a joint statement, the Chinese conglomerate and the French fashion label said that the current shareholders, Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang and Swiss businessman Ralph Bartel, were left with a minority stake, but no financial details were shared.

5. Shandong Ruyi Tries European Luxury With Bally

Last month, Bally found an owner in Shandong Ruyi Group, a Chinese textile and apparel giant that controls SMCP and Hong Kong’s Trinity Group. Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, it took a majority stake in the accessories brand, whose parent JAB revealed last year that it was leaving the fashion business. (JAB, however, retains a minority holding in the label while Bally’s management team and its CEO will also have a minority stake.) “We are extremely excited to begin this new journey of Bally alongside JAB and the Bally management team,” Shandong Ruyi chairman Yafu Qiu said, noting that the acquisition would help propel Shandong’s goal to become “a global leader in the fashion apparel sector.” Bally is the conglomerate’s first major acquisition in the European luxury accessories market.

6. Flight Club and GOAT Join Forces

Merging into what they’re calling “the world’s largest sneaker marketplace,” Flight Club and GOAT now represents more than 7 million members with upwards of 400,000 individual sneaker listings for sale. The brick-and-mortar sneaker consignment pioneer and the digital sneaker startup also announced early last month a new round of financial backing — that is, $60 million from Index Ventures. The investment brings GOAT’s total funding to $97.6 million. “As the first company to focus on reselling rare sneakers, Flight Club revolutionized sneaker retail and paved the way for what is now a $2 billion resale industry,” said Eddy Lu, co-founder and CEO of GOAT. “The merger of Flight Club and GOAT, together with $60 million in new funding, will allow us to significantly scale our online and retail operations to meet customer demand both domestically and internationally.”

7. LVMH Backs Stadium Goods

Although financial details of the transaction remain undisclosed, a deal announced Feb. 8 saw European luxury conglomerate LVMH Luxury Ventures entering into a partnership with Stadium Goods, backing the New York City-based consignment sneaker store led by co-founders John McPheters and Jed Stiller. Together with chief marketing officer Yu-Ming Wu, the executives opened their doors in the Soho neighborhood back in October 2015. In January 2017, the resale shop landed $4.6 million in new equity funding for expansion by The Chernin Group and Forerunner Ventures, which heads Warby Parker and Jet.com among other labels.

8. Foot Locker Pumps $15M in Carbon38

Foot Locker Inc. announced in January that it was investing in women’s luxury activewear maker Carbon38. Through a $15 million Series A investment, the specialty athletic retailer holds a minority stake in the brand, a sign of its heightened interest in building its clientele of female consumers. Carbon38, which was founded by former ballet dancers and Harvard University classmates Katie Warner Johnson and Caroline Gogolak, now boasts a total funding of $26 million. “We are excited to have Foot Locker as an investor as we continue to scale our business and expand our omnichannel strategy, both in the U.S. and internationally,” Johnson said. “This funding enables us to accelerate our path of rapid growth and achieve our mission of defining a new category of luxury active ready-to-wear for women.”

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