Walmart is buying Jet.com for $3 billion
Walmart Stores is buying Jet.com in a deal worth $3 billion dollars according to a source with direct knowledge of the deal, confirming reports that have been pouring in about the bid for Jet.com all week.
According to our source the signatures for the deal were dry on Friday and will be announced as early as Monday morning — echoing what was reported in both Bloomberg and Recode.
The deal for Jet.com comes as big brand companies and retailers are trying to shore up their defenses against an all-out assault on their business from Amazon.com.
From its launch in 2015 Jet.com set itself up to be an Amazon killer. The company was founded by Marc Lore, who sold his previous business, Quidsi, to Amazon for $545 million.
The operator of sites Diapers.com, Beauty.com, and Soap.com, Quidsi was part of an Amazon buying spree that included the retailer Zappos.com and Woot and established the online retailer as a huge competitor in sales of both clothing and consumer packaged goods.
Now, brands and the biggest box stores are fighting back with their own billion dollar acquisitions.
One of the reasons that Unilever bought Dollar Shave Club in last month’s big dollar consumer deal was to compete with the looming threat of Amazon… and Walmart faces similar pressures.
The deal is a nice payday for Jet.com investors who had committed more than $800 million in financing into the company. Investors like Accel, NEA, General Catalyst Partners, Norwest, Goldman Sachs, and others all stand to gain substantially from the Walmart acquisition.
But the biggest winner of all may be Lore himself. With a 25% stake in the company Lore stands to make as much as $750 million from the sale. As well as take the helm of the ecommerce site of commercial retail’s largest player. A company that raked in over $15 billion in profit last year.
Since its launch, the company had grown furiously, but its growth was coming at a steep price. According to the report in Recode the company was spending $20 million to $25 million on marketing to fund its growth.
Indeed, Jet.com’s CEO even noted at the time that the fundraising environment for his company had become “tough”. And the company’s own public statements indicated that it wouldn’t be reaching profitability until at least 2020.
Even as Walmart latches on to Jet — and its superstar e-commerce CEO — as a potential savior for its online sales woes, it may be looking in the wrong direction.
As our own Sarah Perez reported last year, Jet has not made much of a dent in Amazon or eBay sales, according . She wrote:
… if Jet’s strategy is to lure customers away from Amazon, that, so far, has not happened… they’re not yet seeing any cannibalization of Amazon or eBay sales at this time. In other words, people are buying on Jet, but their purchase rate remains consistent on Amazon and eBay. That could mean that Jet is succeeding instead in gaining customers who would have otherwise bought products via other discount marketplaces, like Costco or Sam’s Club, for instance.