City firms net main roles on sale of online fashion store

Olswang, Slaughter and May and Withers have won leading roles on the £350m sale of online ­fashion ­retailer Net-a-Porter to Swiss luxury goods group Richemont.

Slaughters corporate partner Oliver Wareham acted for Richemont, which has increased its 33 per cent stake in the business to take control of the company. The buyer already owns a number of brands such as Cartier and Alfred Dunhill.

Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet turned to Withers consultant Hugh Devlin for advice after he had advised a host of brands stocked by the retailer, including Chloé and Mulberry. M&A partner Paul McGrath and head of employment Meriel Schindler were also on the Withers team.

Massenet, who owned 18 per cent of the company prior to the sale, has retained an interest, although Richemont was said to hold “the ­overwhelming majority”
of shares.

“It was a business for which there was a lot of ­competition,” commented Devlin. “But there was a completely shared vision and it was a deal that everybody wanted to happen.

“We look ­forward to working with Natalie ­further to grow and develop the business.”

Net-a-Porter was advised by Olswang corporate ­partner Tony Leifer.