Mergers & Acquisitions - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:01:10 -0400 RTP en-gb McDonald’s Acquires Voice Ordering Platform, Will Create Tech Lab McDonald’s Acquires Voice Ordering Platform, Will Create Tech Lab

McDonald’s is acquiring yet another technology company as it seeks to optimize the customer ordering experience across its 38,000+ locations. With the acquisition of Apprente, a voice-based conversational technology provider, the fast food giant will form McD Tech Labs. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

In McDonald’s restaurants, the Apprente technology is expected to allow for faster, simpler and more accurate order-taking at the drive thru, with future potential to incorporate into mobile ordering and kiosks. The quick service restaurant already has been evaluating Apprente’s solutions in voice-activated drive thru lanes at select test restaurants.

Apprente was founded in 2017 in Mountain View, Calif. to create voice-based platforms for complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering.

The Apprente team will be the founding members of McD Tech Labs, with Co-Founder Itamar Arel becoming the division’s VP. McDonald’s said it will expand the team by hiring more engineers, data scientists and other tech experts. This Silicon Valley-based team is integrated into the overall Global Technology division at McDonald’s, and is designed to complement the company’s newly renovated Innovation Center near Chicago.

In April, McDonald’s acquired AI-powered personalization solution provider Dynamic Yield for more than $300 million, with the goal of creating a drive-thru experience that’s customized based on factors such as time of day, weather, restaurant traffic and trending menu items. The decision technology can instantly suggest and display additional items based on a customer’s current order selections. Later that month, McDonald’s invested $3.7 million for a nearly 10% stake in mobile engagement software provider Plexure, which is the vendor for the McDonald’s mobile app.

McDonald’s has deployed the Dynamic Yield technology in more than 8,000 restaurants in the U.S. and plans to integrate the tech in nearly all drive thru’s in the U.S. and Australia by the end of 2019.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:37:08 -0400
Shopify Acquires Warehouse Automation And Robotics Firm For $450 Million Shopify Acquires Warehouse Automation And Robotics Firm For $450 Million

Shopify is acquiring 6 River Systems, a startup focused on warehouse automation technology development for e-Commerce and retail operations. The purchase is designed to accelerate the growth of the Shopify Fulfillment Network, which launched in June. The deal is valued at approximately $450 million60% in cash and 40% in shares.

With 6 River Systems, Shopify adds cloud-based software and collaborative mobile robots called “Chuck,” capable of moving packages around a warehouse, to the Shopify Fulfillment Network. The 6 River technologies are designed to help Shopify increase the speed and reliability of its warehouse operations by empowering on-site associates with daily tasks, including inventory replenishment, picking, sorting and packing. 

The deal also gives Shopify access to the robotics experts who helped develop Amazon’s  robotics business when they were at Kiva Systems (before Amazon acquired that company).

Shopify’s growth has skyrocketed in the past 12 months, with the e-Commerce platform’s stock jumping a whopping 150% in that time frame. After surpassing eBay’s market capitalization earlier this year (now up $40 billion to roughly $34 billion), Shopify is expected to pass eBay in terms of merchant sales volume in the U.S. as well, according to a note from investment bank R.W. Baird. Shopify reported $362 million in Q2 revenue last month, up 48% from the year-ago period.

The transaction is expected to have no impact on Shopify’s revenue in 2019, but is expected to increase the company’s annual expenses by approximately $25 million. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Shopify estimated that 6 River Systems will have annual revenues of roughly $30 million in 2020.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Tue, 10 Sep 2019 11:16:58 -0400
Stitch Fix Acquires Technology From Digital Wardrobe Platform

0aaaafineryStitch Fix has acquired the intellectual property and technology from Finery, a platform that scans online shopping receipts to build a virtual wardrobe. Shoppers using the technology on their phones can then assemble outfit options and keep track of the garments they own.

Financial terms of the Finery acquisition have not been disclosed, but Stitch Fix did not acquire the entirety of Finery. Customer information is not included in the deal.

Finery customers have until Sept. 6 to download their saved wardrobe information or lose it. Stitch Fix will waive its $20 per Fix fee for a month for the Finery users that want to sign up with Stitch Fix, according to a report from Women’s Wear Daily.

The tech acquisition comes more than two months after Amazon launched Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe, positioned as a competitor to Stitch Fix in that both services send members a curated box of clothing choices every month. Beyond the Amazon threat, more apparel retailers are trying their hand at monthly subscription services, including Banana Republic, Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters, American Eagle and Ann Taylor.

But Stitch Fix maintains its advantage over competitors with its focus on personalized styling, designed to hand-select the right clothes for shoppers. As members stick with the service, Stitch Fix collects more data designed to improve its predictive algorithms to tailor the exact look and fit each customer wants. The company has a growing list of 3 million+ clients sharing feedback, including sizing, likes and dislikes.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Tue, 03 Sep 2019 17:39:59 -0400
Bazaarvoice Acquires Influenster, Boosting Network Reach To 6 Million Users Bazaarvoice Acquires Influenster, Boosting Network Reach To 6 Million Users

Bazaarvoice, a product review and user-generated content platform with a network of 6,000+ global brand and retailer web sites, has acquired Influenster, a product discovery and review platform with nearly six million community members. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

In the wake of the acquisition, Bazaarvoice revealed a page dedicated to the company’s joint services with Influenster, highlighting how the services are “bringing shoppers and brands together.”

The combination of Bazaarvoice and Influenster is complementary, as it is designed to give brands a single partner to help them build relationships with new and existing customers, create comprehensive product reviews and UGC strategy and power word-of-mouth marketing at scale. 

"The decision to join forces with Influenster underscores Bazaarvoice's commitment to connecting brands with consumers and consumers with one another through UGC," said Joe Davis, CEO of Bazaarvoice, in a statement. “Influenster's product sampling and review generation offerings further strengthen our core product ratings and reviews solutions, and their hyper-targeting and gamification capabilities will allow us to better support our customers' broader marketing initiatives.”

The Influenster community has written more than 38 million product reviews and create, on average, more than 50,000 pieces of content every day — including photos, videos, and Q&As.

Bazaarvoice will offer all Influenster employees their same job role under the deal. Influenster Co-Founders Aydin Acar and Elizabeth Scherle will retain responsibility for key functions within the company. Integrated offerings will be available in North America immediately and in Europe in fall 2019, before expanding to other regions in 2020.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Wed, 28 Aug 2019 16:14:47 -0400
Report: Alibaba Acquires Kaola For $2 Billion Report: Alibaba Acquires Kaola For $2 Billion

Alibaba Group has agreed to pay $2 billion in cash to acquire fellow Chinese cross-border e-Commerce platform NetEase Kaola, according to a report from Caixin Global. Kaola, owned by NetEase Inc., sells apparel, household appliances and other products from 9,000 brands, and is the largest of the Chinese shopping sites selling imported goods. While numerous news outlets have reported on the acquisition, Alibaba refused to provide a comment.

The acquisition would represent major consolidation within the global e-Commerce space: NetEase Kaola held a 27.5% market share in cross-border e-Commerce in 2018, and Alibaba’s Tmall Global marketplace held 25%, according to iiMedia Research Group.

The report comes after Alibaba posted its Q2 earnings, which saw the e-Commerce giant drive robust sales growth despite an economic slowdown in China and the country’s trade war with the U.S. Alibaba generated 114.9 billion yuan ($16 billion USD) in total sales, an increase of 42% year-over-year, with core business revenue from marketplaces included Tmall and Taobao climbing 26%. The cloud computing segment, which dominates the domestic market, grew 66% this quarter to 7.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion USD).

As Alibaba continues to expand, it is seeking out shoppers in lower-income cities and communities. More than 70% of the 20 million new active Alibaba consumers this quarter came from lower-tier regions. In June, the company launched a new English-language site for foreign merchants to set up online shops on Tmall and reach China’s growing middle class. 

Q2 e-Commerce revenue for NetEase was 5.3 billion yuan ($765 million USD), a year-over-year increase of 20%. Kaola’s separate results are not publicly available.

Kaola already has worked with Alibaba’s logistics unit, Cainiao Network Technology, which will take over Kaola’s warehouse business and will integrate with other cross-border e-Commerce platforms, the report said.

But Kaola has never turned a profit because of an aggressive subsidy policy designed to expand market share. Instead, the company appeared to have had plans to work with a larger global e-Commerce player, at least since the beginning of 2019. In February, Amazon’s Chinese joint venture also had discussions about a merger with Kaola, according to Chinese business publication Caijing. But talks did not turn into a deal, and in July, Amazon actually shut down its Chinese marketplace business.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Fri, 16 Aug 2019 14:58:44 -0400
Steve Madden Acquires GREATS Steve Madden Acquires GREATS

Steve Madden has acquired GREATS, a Brooklyn-based digitally native footwear brand specializing in Italian-made sneakers, for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2014 by Ryan Babenzein, GREATS opened a 500-square-foot flagship in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood in April 2018. The sneaker retailer had moved into wholesale after partnering with Nordstrom in October 2017.

GREATS had net sales of approximately $13 million for the 12 months ended June 30, while Madden reported revenues of $445 million for Q2, a 12% increase over the same period last year.

“We see significant opportunity to expand the business by combining GREATS’ strengths — which include an outstanding brand and stylish, classic designs that appeal to today’s more casual consumer — with our proven business model, established infrastructure and global reach,” said Edward Rosenfeld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Steve Madden in a statement.

]]> (Brianna Ruback) Mergers & Acquisitions Mon, 12 Aug 2019 11:34:27 -0400
Farfetch Adds Tech, New Brands With $675M Purchase Of New Guards Farfetch Adds Tech, New Brands With $675M Purchase Of New Guards

The online luxury fashion marketplace Farfetch has purchased New Guards Group, a brand platform that has launched several global luxury fashion brands, for $675 million. The acquisition extends Farfetch’s capabilities to include design, production and brand development.

Farfetch is seeking to leverage its global consumer base, data insights and boutique network, combining them with New Guards’ support for designers with services such as strategy development, sourcing and production, merchandising, licensing, marketing and growth planning.

“The addition of New Guards’ brand platform brings a creative and industrial dimension to our suite of capabilities,” said José Neves, CEO and Co-Chair of Farfetch in a statement. “Combined with our community of more than 650 boutiques, this enables us to power and promote both new and existing creative names in the luxury industry to build the brands of the future.”

The acquisition brings New Guards brands, including the popular streetwear brand Off-White, into the Farfetch portfolio. Several of the New Guards brands already were present on the platform, but only via boutiques.

Farfetch, which filed for an IPO in August 2018 and acquired Stadium Goods for $250 million in December 2018, announced the acquisition along with its Q2 financial results. The gross merchandise value handled by the platform climbed to $488.5 million, up from $338.5 million during the same period last year. Revenue also increased, from $146.7 million to $209.2 million. However, after-tax losses for Farfetch deepened, increasing from $17.7 million in Q2 2018 to $89.6 million in Q2 2019.

]]> (Adam Blair) Mergers & Acquisitions Mon, 12 Aug 2019 11:28:36 -0400
Canadian Tire Acquires Party City Canadian Retail Business For $130 Million Canadian Tire Acquires Party City Canadian Retail Business For $130 Million

Canadian Tire will acquire the retail business and assets of Party City’s Canadian subsidiary, including its 65 stores, intellectual property and employee base, for $174.4 million CAD (approximately $131 million USD).

As part of the acquisition, Party City's product assortments will be made available nationally across 500 Canadian Tire stores and online at The retailer will expand Party City's standalone store network in Canada and also plans to build Party City-branded store-in-store, pop-ups and "in-line" aisles across Canadian Tire locations. Canadian Tire also will integrate Party City into its Triangle Rewards program.

Canadian Tire estimates that it will be able to double Party City's annual sales in Canada to $280 million CAD ($212 million USD) by 2021. By combining the two brands, Canadian Tire hopes to strengthen its connection with Millennial shoppers, pointing out in a statement that adding a trip-driving category would be beneficial and noting that the average household hosts four parties or celebrations per year.

“We believe the Party City-Canadian Tire partnership will drive more trips, improve our offers in micro seasons, strengthen our connection with Millennials and Canadian families and expand the appeal of Triangle Rewards,” said Allan MacDonald, EVP, Retail at Canadian Tire Corp. 

The 2018 EBITDA of the 65 acquired locations totaled approximately $17.6 million CAD, while the amount of inventory is valued at approximately $40 million CAD.

Canadian Tire announced the deal alongside its Q2 results, which saw revenue increase 5.9% to $3.67 billion CAD($2.77 billion USD), mostly from retailing, which jumped 7.8%. Canadian Tire Corp. has made major attempts to diversify its business in recent years, operating multiple retail banners including its namesake Canadian Tire stores, sporting goods retailer Sport Chek, footwear and apparel retailer Mark's and sportswear company Helly Hansen across 1,700 locations.

Party City said proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt. In its Q2 earnings report, the company revealed that total revenues increased 0.5% to $563.9 million, falling short of the $572 million analysts had forecast. Retail sales increased 2.9%, but same-store sales decreased 2.1%, with the company attributing the dip to a global helium shortage. The company increased the number of stores it plans to close this year from approximately 45 locations to 55.

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Party City board, is expected to close by October 1, 2019.

Party City’s subsidiary Amscan Inc., which is the retailer’s decorated party goods designer, manufacturer and distributor, also will have a long-term wholesale supply agreement with Canadian Tire beginning with an initial term of 10 years. Party City estimates that the supply agreement will effectively double Amscan’s average annual wholesale shipments into the Canadian marketplace during the term of the agreement.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:41:07 -0400
Nike Acquires Celect To Better Anticipate Customer Demand Nike Acquires Celect To Better Anticipate Customer Demand

Nike has acquired Celect, a predictive analytics and demand sensing technology company, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is fueling the footwear and apparel giant’s global “Consumer Direct Offense” strategy, according to a statement.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales are becoming a major cornerstone of the Nike business model. Sales from Nike’s Direct business rose 12%, from $9.1 billion in fiscal 2017 to $10.4 billion in fiscal 2018, according to SEC filings. Fueled by online growth, direct revenue now makes up about 30% of total Nike brand revenue, the company said.

By integrating the Celect technology into its mobile apps and web site, Nike seeks to better predict what styles of sneakers and apparel customers want, when they want them and where they want to buy them from, Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk told CNBC. With Celect, Nike aims to reduce out-of-stock rates and minimize situations where sneaker and apparel demand remain unplanned, as a way to put less pressure on profit margins.

“Our goal is to serve consumers more personally at scale,” Sprunk said. “We have to anticipate demand. We don’t have six months to do it. We have 30 minutes.”Nike opted to acquire Celect instead of spending two or three years trying to incubate the same platform in-house, he said.

The Celect deal isn’t the first data-driven purchase for Nike. In March 2018, Nike acquired consumer data analytics firm Zodiac in a bid to speed its digital transformation as its sales continued to shift online. In April 2018 Nike acquired Israel-based computer vision company Invertex, the company behind the recent rollout of Nike Fit — a 3D scanning feature within Nike’s mobile app that’s able to accurately predict what size shoes people should buy.

The Celect team will immediately be integrated into Nike's Global Operations Team, and its co-founders will continue as tenured professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, consulting Nike on an ongoing basis.

The Nike-Celect deal is another example of the convergence of technology companies with retailers, consumer goods companies and even quick service restaurants. Retailers and consumer goods companies made the most tech acquisitions (32% of all deals) of all non-tech firms in 2018, according to PwC.

In March 2018, Nordstrom acquired two Seattle-based retail technology startups: BevyUp and MessageYes. BevyUp is a platform designed to enable sales associates to communicate with each other on the back end, whileMessageYes enables Nordstrom to send shoppers who opt in more personalized notifications while they browse online. 

In March, McDonald’s acquired omnichannel personalization solution provider Dynamic Yield for $300 million, with the initial intent of providing personalized drive-thru menus that show food items based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items. Less than a month later, McDonald’s took a $3.7 million investment stake (9.9%) in Plexure, a mobile engagement software company.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Wed, 07 Aug 2019 14:36:54 -0400
1-800-FLOWERS.COM Acquires Shari’s Berries For $20.5 Million 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Acquires Shari’s Berries For $20.5 Million

1-800-FLOWERS.COM has won an auction to purchase certain assets from FTD, including the Shari’s Berries brand, for $20.5 million. The bankruptcy court will consider approval of the transaction on Aug. 9, at which point 1-800-FLOWERS.COM will acquire Shari’s Berries through a wholly owned subsidiary.

“As with all of our brands, we will focus on driving strong top and bottom-line performance for the Shari’s Berries brand by enhancing the overall customer experience and leveraging the unique capabilities of our business platform to improve its operating efficiency,” said Chris McCann, CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM in a statement.

Other assets in the transaction include FTD’s gourmet food business, including more than 450 domain names, copyrights, trademarks, customer data, phone numbers and other intellectual property. FTD filed for bankruptcy in June due to a lack of funds needed to continue operating past July 2019. The company had proposed selling Shari’s Berries to Edible Arrangements founder Tariq Farid, but the deal was not completed.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Mergers & Acquisitions Mon, 05 Aug 2019 16:07:12 -0400