12. December 2012–
Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR), the French multinational that counts top fashion brands Gucci, Puma and Yves Saint Laurent among subsidiaries, is trying out a partnership with the Samwer brothers' Rocket Internet.
In news just dropped by TechCrunch, PPR is making a €10million cash-for-equity investment in Rocket's Bigfoot I, the holding company for online fashion retailers Lamoda (Russia), Dafiti (Brazil) and Namshi (Middle East).
Germany's Samwer brothers Oliver, Marc and Alexander founded Rocket Internet in 2007. The company builder now spans about 100 portfolio companies in 40 markets, including flagship fashion retailer Zalando and its equivalents in different regions.
Given the size of PPR (market capitalisation: €17.98b), and of Rocket Internet's own fashion efforts (Dafiti only yesterday announced a fresh $65m of funding), the investment revealed today is small change. It's significant as the first time the two companies have worked together. It also appears to be the first time Rocket Internet has secured an investor from the fashion sector, let alone the luxury goods one.
With Brazil and Russia – and their fashion-conscious middle class consumers – of obvious interest to PPR, this is at the very least an interesting addition to the portfolio.
If Oliver Samwer and Rocket Internet play nice and perform to expectations, though, it could be the start of a much larger partnership. It's likely PPR already holds an option for further investment as part of this first deal.
According to TechCrunch, there are no plans right now to directly market PPR's brands on Rocket Internet sites. One way the companies might be able to work together in the future is to share logistics and marketing resources in emerging markets.
Other recent investors in Rocket Internet and its portfolio companies include JP Morgan, Summit Partners, Quadrant Capital and Vorwerk Ventures, along with long-standing principal investor AB Kinnevik.
Featured image credit: Flickr user stilettobootlover_83
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