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Prada Liquidity Event Murmurs & Fashion Fire Sale Season

Miuccia Prada
Prada intrigue in Europe more or less matches Ralph Lauren curiosity here: In both situations, you have founders of a certain age who would stand to earn out historic liquidity events. Photo: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
April 11, 2024

Most M&A chatter hails from bored executives playing a never-ending game of telephone while opportunistic bankers pitch ideas and look to get in on the action. In the luxury world, I suspect that there will be at least some notable transactions this year, from dire situations to true top-of-the market cash-outs and in between, most likely starting with Net-a-Porter (and more broadly, YNAP), which Richemont is currently attempting to sell off to the highest bidder. 

Onetime rival MatchesFashion is also for sale after its current owner, Frasers, bought it for a song at the end of 2023. (I say “onetime rival” because these luxury-only retailers are no longer competing against each other, they are simply competing to survive.) Teneo is managing the process, and from what I’ve been told, they are welcoming bids on every component of the business, from the customer database and the Matches intellectual property to the leases on the physical stores to the I.P. of Raey, the in-house label beloved by many a fashion insider—an old-fashioned four-alarm fire sale.