Bellevue, Switzerland—Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the luxurygoods conglomerate that owns Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Panerai and Montblanc among others, today denied its Net-a-Porter luxury website was for sale.
“Richemont has a long-standing policy of not commenting on market rumors. Exceptionally in this case, Richemont wishes to make it clear that The Net-A-Porter Group is not for sale,” the company said in a statement.
The unusual public denial came after Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian newspaper, reported Wednesday that Net-a-Porter was in merger talks with Yoox, another online retailer.
According to Bloomberg News, Federico Marchetti, Yoox chief executive, said, “There are no talks underway with Richemont.” But when asked if there had been discussions between the two e-tailers, Marchetti reportedly replied: “We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t look at certain acquisitions in a selective manner and we will continue to do so.”
Analysts have been following Richemont more closely since Chairman Johann Rupert in May alluded to breaking up the company’s fashion and leathergoods division, saying the company should have sold off some bad investments earlier.
Late last month, Richemont reportedly hired Nomura Holdings Inc. to sell off its Lancel luxury leathergoods brand.