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Coupang CEO outlines plans for Farfetch

By Rachel Douglass


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Farfetch. Credits: Courtesy of Farfetch

Almost one month on from the closing of its acquisition of Farfetch and the luxury e-tailer’s new owner, Coupang, is beginning to outline plans for the British company’s future.

Brief details of such were described in a conference call with analysts held by Coupang’s founder and chief executive officer, Bom Kim, who also took the opportunity to share the South Korean firm’s latest fourth-quarter results.

In the meeting, Kim gave off the impression that while he saw Farfetch as a “rare opportunity”, the company would for now remain in the backseat while Coupang continues to pursue a larger market share in its home country and Taiwan.

Kim added: “We hope in a few years we’ll be having the conversation about how Coupang turned Farfetch into a business that transformed the customer experience around luxury fashion while also providing strategic value for Coupang.

“It’s too early for that conversation today. Even if that full potential is not fully realised, we’re highly confident that this will prove to be a prudent financial decision.

“We’re already executing on a plan to make Farfetch self-funding with no additional investment beyond the announced capital commitment. And we see many paths to making this a worthwhile investment for shareholders.”

Farfetch takeover continues to face obstacles

While Kim’s outlook remains positive, Coupang’s takeover of Farfetch hasn’t entirely been smooth sailing since it was set in stone.

Prior to its finalisation, a group of Farfetch shareholders came together to contest the takeover, calling on advisors to “urgently evaluate options” to protect their interest in the “face of the value destruction”.

The group, which dubbed the sale as “distressed” and questioned the speed of Farfetch’s downfall prior to its bankruptcy, later issued Farfetch and its founder, Jose Neves, who has since stepped down from the CEO role, with a winding up petition, claiming that the company’s management had entered into “unjustified value-destructive steps” in order to secure the acquisition.

Furthermore, the sale has also resulted in the departure of notable partners, with the likes of Kering and Neiman Marcus among those to have terminated their contracts with Farfetch, preventing the listing of their brands on the retailer’s site.