South Korean retailer Coupang announced plans to acquire both the business and assets from online luxury goods company Farfetch Holdings today, further solidifying Coupang as a leader in the luxury goods space.
Coupang was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020. In South Korea, Coupang is known somewhat as the country’s Amazon. Orders placed late at night with the company can often be delivered to the buyer’s doorstep the next morning. Even better, they’re often delivered without a box, reducing the amount of waste created. The company sells everything from fresh food to clothing, and has partnered with several U.S.-based brands, including Lego and Gap, to sell some of their items in South Korea.
The deal is a lifeline for Farfetch, which has been facing bankruptcy in recent months. The company has been struggling with a slowing luxury market, and was seeking emergency funding to continue operations and save the jobs of its 6,000 employees. With the acquisition, Farfetch gains access to $500 million in capital to keep it in operation.
“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,” Bom Kim, founder & CEO of Coupang, said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “We also see tremendous opportunities to redefine the customer experience for luxury clients everywhere.”
Coupang plans to lend its expertise in logistics to Farfetch’s luxury ecosystem, which Farfetch says will allow it “to continue providing exclusive brands and boutiques with bespoke, cutting-edge technology and giving leading designers access to consumers around the globe.”
The acquisition is also a unique opportunity for Coupang, due to Farfetch’s expertise in the luxury goods sector. South Korea is currently the world leader in per-capita spending on personal luxury goods.
Coupang is a Fortune 200 company and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As part of the deal, Farfetch, which is also traded on the same exchange, will be taken private.