The rumor wire about a potential bankruptcy filing by Farfetch Holdings plc came to a head late last week, following the company’s action two weeks prior that it would not report its third-quarter financials as expected.

Farfetch’s future became clearer on December 18 as Coupang, Inc., a Korea-based global retailer, reported plans to acquire the business and its assets. The move could have implications across the European active lifestyle market as Farfetch and its New Guards Group subsidiary work closely with several sneaker brands on design and online strategy.

Following its acquisition of Reebok in 2022, Authentic partnered with London-based Farfetch Limited to operate its business in Europe, re-platform its European e-commerce sites and drive the brand by expanding its luxury collaboration offerings globally. Farfetch sells Nike, Jordan and Adidas on its platforms, in addition to active lifestyle brands.

New Guards Group (NGG), the fashion group owned by Farfetch Limited, entrusted to manage the Reebok brand in Europe through its partnership with Authentic, recently hired Adidas veteran Markus Kleber as SVP/GM of Reebok Europe and Reebok Ltd.

NGG, a wholly-owned Farfetch company, manages the partnership and formed a new division, NGG++, to operate the Reebok brand and focus on accelerating opportunities for NGG brands’ sportswear and sneaker categories. NGG previewed the first iteration of Reebok’s premium brand in July 2023.

Coupang said in a release that “its 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.” Coupang also said it is “uniquely positioned to unlock Farfetch’s tremendous value for the vast personal luxury goods segment in South Korea, which has the world’s highest per-capita spending on personal luxury goods.”

The agreement announced on Monday gives Farfetch access to $500 million to continue providing exclusive brands and boutiques with technology and giving designers access to a global consumer base.

“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 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.”

“Coupang’s proven track record and deep experience in revolutionizing commerce will enable us to deliver exceptional service for our brand and boutique partners, as well as for our millions of customers around the world,” said José Neves, Farfetch founder, CEO and chairman. “We are thrilled to be partnering with such a respected Fortune 200 company that is committed to investing in innovations that transform all aspects of the customer experience with Farfetch.”

Greenoaks, a leading global investment firm, brought substantial financial expertise to the transaction and is Coupang’s investment partner in this acquisition.

Photo courtesy Farfetch