Home24, the Rocket Internet-founded online European furniture store, has acquired competitor Fashion For Home, another German company most comparable to the U.K.’s Made.com. Specific terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed, although I understand it’s an all-stock deal.
Furthermore, Fashion For Home’s founders Marc Appelhoff and Christoph Cordes are staying on and will become part of Home24’s management team, while the two brands will remain separate.
There’s also an interesting twist in this story: Rocket Internet was an original backer of Fashion For Home but disposed of its shares in the company during a partial exit in July 2012, a move that surprised many at the time given how bullish Oliver Samwer was about e-commerce in relation to furniture. So in a sense we have come full circle here.
That said, the acquisition is unlikely to have been a home run for the company’s other investors — Acton Capital Partners and Holtzbrinck Ventures — either, at least not until or if Home24 pulls off its rumoured planned IPO.
European IPOs are picking up a reputation for stalling or being put on the back burner of late. First music streaming site Deezer and most recently Rocket Internet’s own HelloFresh, if reports are to be believed.
“With the acquisition of Fashion For Home, we are further complementing our offering and strengthening our leadership position,” Domenico Cipolla (pictured above), CEO of Home24 AG, tells me. “Ever since the start of both companies we have been working on the same vision: to revolutionize the way people buy furniture and to become the leader in global online furniture. We are happy to work on this common vision under one strong roof from now on and see synergies across several areas.”
To that end, the well-funded Home24 operates in seven core markets in Europe: Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy, in addition to a Brazilian subsidiary. It had dabbled with expansion to Asia before retreating, not uncommon for a Rocket venture. Meanwhile, Fashion For Home operates in Germany, Netherlands and Austria.
Adds Cipolla: “Fashion For Home has been founded to change the value chain for customers. Formerly design furniture was available but people couldn’t afford it. Fashion For Home cut out the middlemen to make expensive design products affordable and accessible for everyone. To accomplish this, Fashion For Home has built a strong design team, an excellent global sourcing network and an overall strong product expertise. Fashion For Home products will be integrated in the Home24 platform and benefit from Home24’s international marketing, technology and fulfilment powerhouse.”