Coupang to Acquire Farfetch Amidst Financial Struggle

The South Korean E-Commerce Giant Rescues the Luxury Retail Platform with $500 Million in Emergency Funding

Coupang has stepped in to provide a lifeline for Farfetch, infusing the struggling luxury fashion platform with a crucial $500 million in emergency funding through a “pre-pack” administration process. The injection of fresh capital aims to sustain Farfetch’s commitment to delivering exclusive brands and boutique experiences globally by leveraging cutting-edge technology solutions. Coupang is set to acquire the business and assets of Farfetch.

A Fortune 200 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Coupang maintains operations across various markets including its home market of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, and India. An e-commerce platform akin to Amazon or AliBaba, the strategic partnership marks a broader move for the company to expand into the burgeoning luxury retail market.

A statement from Farfetch said that Coupang’s “operational excellence and innovative logistics combined with Farfetch’s leading role in the luxury ecosystem will drive exceptional experiences for customers, boutiques and brands across the world.”

“Farfetch is a landmark of the luxury landscape and has been a transformative force in demonstrating that online luxury is the future of luxury retail,” said Bom Kim, founder and CEO officer of Coupang. “Farfetch will rededicate itself to providing the most elevated experience for the world’s most exclusive brands, while pursuing steady and thoughtful growth as a private company. We also see tremendous opportunities to redefine the customer experience for luxury clients everywhere,” he added.

As part of the agreement, Farfetch will transition from being publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange to a private entity, with Coupang assuming full control. Shareholders, including founder and CEO José Neves, will see their investments dissolved. However, Neves will continue with the company.

The fate of Farfetch’s assets, including Browns, New Guards Group, Stadium Goods, and its stake in Neiman Marcus, remains uncertain following this development. Notably, the deal has repercussions for Richemont’s intended majority stake sale in Yoox Net-a-Porter to Farfetch and Alabbar, which has now been terminated. While Farfetch’s major partners, Richemont and Alibaba, maintained distance during the rescue effort, Coupang’s intervention signals a new chapter for the luxury platform.

Despite challenges and market fluctuations, Farfetch, founded on a model of connecting retailers with global consumers without holding inventory, has been a transformative force in the luxury landscape. Over the years, strategic acquisitions and expansions, including forays into beauty, have shaped Farfetch’s trajectory, although recent setbacks led to its exit from the beauty category in August. The company’s market capitalization, once soaring to nearly $25 billion in 2021, recently dipped below $250 million, prompting the search for a financial rescue and restructuring under Coupang’s support.