Heartland A/S: USD 300 million round for fashion tech start-up ABOUT YOU

Cate­gory: Private Equity
25. July 2018

Hamburg — The Danish Heart­land A/S, holding company of one of the largest Euro­pean clot­hing compa­nies, Best­sel­ler A/S, joins ABOUT YOU as a new inves­tor. The invest­ment is being made as part of a capi­tal increase of around 300 million US dollars and on the basis of a company valua­tion of ABOUT YOU of over one billion US dollars. This makes the fast-growing fashion tech start-up of the Otto Group the first so-called unicorn from Hamburg.

The finan­cing round of around 300 million US dollars is largely based on the invest­ment by Heart­land A/S, which is acqui­ring a double-digit share in ABOUT YOU. The previous share­hol­ders German Media Pool and Seven Ventures as well as the three ABOUT YOU mana­ging direc­tors Tarek Müller, Sebas­tian Betz and Hannes Wiese (photo from right: obs/About You GmbH/Johannes Arlt) are also parti­ci­pa­ting in the capi­tal increase. Benja­min Otto, forma­tive part­ner and member of the Super­vi­sory Board of the Otto Group, and his sister remain mino­rity share­hol­ders with their Gesell­schaft für Handels­be­tei­li­gun­gen mbH (GfH). Although the Otto Group remains the largest share­hol­der in ABOUT YOU, it will manage the fashion tech company as an invest­ment company in the future. ABOUT YOU now intends to use the addi­tio­nal capi­tal for the further expan­sion of the company.

Inter­na­tio­nal busi­ness law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has advi­sed the Otto Group on Heart­land A/S ’ invest­ment in ABOUT YOU, the Otto Group’s fashion tech start-up.

ABOUT YOU is conside­red one of the fastest growing fashion tech start-ups in Europe. For fiscal 2018/2019, the company expects sales to increase from 283 million euros to 450 to 480 million euros. ABOUT YOU intends to use the addi­tio­nal capi­tal for further expansion.

The plan­ned parti­ci­pa­tion of Heart­land A/S in ABOUT YOU is subject to the appr­oval of the anti­trust authorities.

The Milbank team led by Norbert Rieger and Sebas­tian Heim provi­ded compre­hen­sive advice to the Otto Group on corpo­rate, tax, anti­trust and finan­cial aspects of the transaction.

ABOUT YOU digi­ti­zes the clas­sic shop­ping trip and crea­tes a perso­na­li­zed shop­ping expe­ri­ence on the smart­phone. By adap­ting to each customer’s indi­vi­dual style, the online store crea­tes a store that is unique to all custo­mers, display­ing only rele­vant products and outfit sugges­ti­ons. At ABOUT YOU, the focus is on the custo­mer and through this, an infi­nite number of diffe­rent perso­na­li­ties who find their expres­sion through fashion and are supported by ABOUT YOU. Women and men between 20 and 49 years of age will find on, in addi­tion to the versa­tile inspi­ra­tion, an assort­ment with more than 150,000 artic­les from over 1,000 brands. With more than 10 million monthly active custo­mers, ABOUT YOU is one of the largest fashion and life­style plat­forms in Europe. The fashion tech company gene­ra­ted sales of €283 million in 2017/18, and sales of €450–480 million are expec­ted for the current fiscal year, repre­sen­ting an annual tran­sac­tion volume of more than €1.6 billion. ABOUT YOU GmbH was foun­ded in 2014 as a subsi­diary of the Otto Group and is now part of the Group port­fo­lio. The manage­ment team includes multi­ple foun­ders and digi­tal experts Tarek Müller (29, Marke­ting & Brands) and Sebas­tian Betz (27, Tech & Product) as well as former Roland Berger stra­te­gist Hannes Wiese (37, Opera­ti­ons & Finance).

About Otto Group
Foun­ded in Germany in 1949, the Otto Group is now a global trading and services group with around 51,800 employees. The Group is present with 123 major compa­nies in more than 30 count­ries in Europe, North and South America and Asia. Its busi­ness acti­vi­ties cover the three segments of multich­an­nel retail­ing, finan­cial services, and service. In the finan­cial year 2017/18 (Febru­ary 28), the Otto Group gene­ra­ted reve­nues of 13.7 billion euros. With online sales of around 7.9 billion euros, it is one of the world’s largest online retail­ers. E‑commerce, cata­log busi­ness and over-the-coun­­ter retail­ing form the three pillars of the Otto Group’s multich­an­nel retail­ing. World­wide Group acti­vi­ties and a large number of stra­te­gic part­ner­ships and joint ventures provide the Otto Group with excel­lent condi­ti­ons for know-how trans­fer and the explo­ita­tion of synergy poten­tial. At the same time, a high degree of auto­nomy on the part of the Group compa­nies guaran­tees flexi­bi­lity and custo­mer proxi­mity as well as an opti­mum target group approach in the respec­tive countries.

Advi­sor Otto Group: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
Dr. Norbert Rieger, Dr. Sebas­tian Heim (joint lead, both Corporate/M&A, Munich), Dr. Rolf Füger (Tax, Munich), Dr. Alex­an­der Rinne (Anti­trust, Munich), Dr. Ulrike Friese-Dormann (Corporate/M&A, Munich), Pascal Härdt­ner (Corporate/M&A, Munich), Dr. Karen Freh­­mel-Kück (Corporate/M&A, Frank­furt), Dr. Moritz Lich­ten­eg­ger (Anti­trust, Munich), Dr. Niko­las Kout­sós, Dr. Thomas Moel­ler (both Finance, Frank­furt), Dr. Moritz Phil­ipp (Tax, Munich), Dr. Fritz Schuch­mann (Corporate/M&A).

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