Saks owner to buy Neiman Marcus with help from Amazon, WSJ reports

(Reuters) -The parent of Saks Fifth Avenue sealed a $2.65 billion deal to buy rival Neiman Marcus with help from Amazon, which will take a minority stake in the combined company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The deal would unite the two luxury retailers that have struggled to operate as standalone brand owners as consumers curb discretionary spending following a bout of inflation and high interest rates.

Salesforce would be another minority shareholder in the new company, which will be called Saks Global, and assist with the adoption of artificial intelligence, while Amazon would provide technology and logistical expertise, the report added.

Saks already does business with both Amazon and Salesforce, so the transaction would deepen their partnerships, the report said.

The boards of Saks parent HBC and Neiman Marcus have approved the transaction, and an announcement could come as soon as this evening, the WSJ report said, adding that Marc Metrick, CEO of Saks’s e-commerce business, will run the combined company.

Amazon declined to comment, while HBC, Saks Fifth Avenue, Salesforce and Neiman Marcus did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comments.

There was a boom in luxury demand once pandemic-related restrictions eased in 2022, helping sales of companies such as LVMH, Ralph Lauren and Tapestry, but it has since cooled as customers turned pickier and cautious about high-end purchases.

Neiman Marcus went bankrupt in 2020 in one of the high-profile collapses among retailers forced to temporarily close stores in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wall Street Journal said there were no current plans to close stores once the deal is completed. There are 39 Saks Fifth Avenue stores and 95 Saks Off 5th discount stores. operates as a separate business, which is owned by HBC.

Neiman has 36 department stores, two Bergdorf Goodman stores and five Last Call discount stores. There are eight malls that have both a Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus store, according to Green Street, a real-estate research firm.

HBC is financing the deal with $2 billion it raised from existing investors, the report said.

Existing investors include Rhone Capital, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and NRDC Equity Partners, a private-equity firm run by Richard Baker, HBC’s executive chairman, and his son Jack Baker. Apollo Global Management APO is providing $1.15 billion in debt financing.

Richard Baker and his son Jack Baker were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)


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