Amazon and Vente-Privee in talks over 2 billion Euro acquisition, say sources

[France] US retailing giant Amazon is in deep and secret negotiations with Vente-Privee, the French private sales club which has taken the ecommerce and fashion industries by storm, our sources say.

We asked Xavier Court, marketing director at Vente-Privee, on the record if Amazon had acquired Vente-Privee. His response was “Very flattering but not true at all.”

However, our sources say that although the two companies have not yet agreed anything, they are in fact negotiating a price close to 2 billion Euros, or $3.01 billion. In October we learned that Vente-Privee was looking for a sale of between $2 billion and $4 billion.

Vente-Privee began in France in 2001, but has only recently become a powerhouse of a new wave in Europe: online private sales clubs involving designer fashion brands, otherwise known in the fashion retail industry as the “overstock market”. Vente-Privee is on target to €650m in turnover globally this year.

Gilt, Amazon and eBay are all understood to be actively looking at getting into the European private shopping club space, but it appears that Amazon is the most serious about entering via acquisition.

The scale of Ventee-Privee’s operation is now staggering. It has over 1,000 employees and 18 photography studios at its French HQ, housed in the vast, former printing factory for the Le Monde newspaper.

eBay has been dabbling in the private sales market, recently introducing eBay OUTLET on its UK site.

Vente-Privee’s success has lead to a bunch of similar sites launching across Europe.

Newspaper group News International runs BrandAlley UK. In Russia there is BuyVIP is the Spain-based private online buying club. In Germany brands4friends has two million members. In the US, Gilt Groupe, Ideeli, Rue La La and others are creating a similar wave of hype – and cash.