Fashionandyou acquires VC-backed fashion & beauty e-tailer UrbanTouch.com

Fashionandyou.com, a flash sales site of the Delhi-based Smile Group, has acquired fashion and beauty e-tailor UrbanTouch.com for an undisclosed amount, according to a company statement.

Harish Bahl, founder & CEO of Smile Group and currently the chairman of Fashionandyou.com, said, “This acquisition is a strategic move and UrbanTouch.com will help us expand our product offerings in personal and beauty care segment.”

As part of the deal, UrbanTouch founder and CEO Abhishek Goyal will be the new CEO of Fashionandyou.

According to an Economic Times report, it has been a cash-and-stock deal of $30 million (Rs 167.3 crore). But one  source told Techcircle, the deal value is lower than the quoted mark but it is more than $10 million level. Bahl did not comment on the rumoured valuation.

Fashionandyou operates as a flash sales site while Urban Touch is a fashion and beauty e-tailor, offering over 300 brands across categories such as apparel, beauty and accessories. Post-acquisition, Fashionandyou and UrbanTouch will merge and become one company, but they will continue to remain different brands (with different sites), catering to the different needs of consumers. UrbanTouch’s team of 200-plus will also join the Fashionandyou team of 750 employees and its leadership team will hold stock in the combined entity.

“As of now, the marketing spend will be for only one brand, but we are also planning a number of initiatives that will enable the customers of one brand to experience the other -- thus building both the brands,” said Bahl.

The acquisition will also see the exit of UrbanTouch investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners, who had invested more than Rs 20 crore in the company.

“While we have made a complete cash buy-out of the investors of UrbanTouch, the leadership team has chosen to hold stock in the merged entity, making it a cash and stock deal,” mentioned Bahl.

Fashionandyou was co-founded by Harish Bahl and former Yahoo India sales director Pearl Uppal in early 2010. In December 2010, the company raised  $8 million from Sequoia Capital India and in November 2011, raised another $40 million in a second-round funding, led by Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital. Sequoia Capital India and Nokia Growth also took part in that funding round.

The company rebranded itself  soon after the announcement of Uppal quitting the group. While Goyal will take over the board seat earlier held by Uppal, she will continue to remain a shareholder in the company.

Asked why the company chose to acquire UrbanTouch instead of expanding its own categories, Bahl said, “There are a couple of reasons. First, although we are servicing men, women and kids alike, we hold the position of the market leader when it comes to lifestyle retail for women. And the only other e-commerce company that is focused on women in India is UrbanTouch. So the current deal has strengthened our leadership position in this market segment.

“Secondly, we were also in the hunt to find an entrepreneur who could get into Pearl’s shoes, and for that, we met more than 50 people. But we felt that Abhishek would be perfect for that role,” he added.

Other key acquisitions in e-com space

In 2012, the Indian e-commerce space has been buzzing with a number of acquisitions. Earlier this year, Flipkart.com, the largest online retailer in India, acquired  Letsbuy.com, but later pulled the plug on Letsbuy. In April, Snapdeal acquired eSportsBuy.com, an online retailer focusing on sports and fitness equipment and accessories, but shut it down after two months (post-acquisition, Snapdeal has introduced a sports section on its portal). This was followed by fashion e-retailer Yebhi  acquiring Stylishyou, a fashion jewellery portal, and baby products e-tailer Hushbabies acquiring MangoStreet.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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