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Richemont scraps agreement to sell online retailer YNAP to Farfetch

The logo of luxury goods company Richemont seen at its headquarters in Bellevue near Geneva

ZURICH (Reuters) - Cartier-owner Richemont on Monday said it had scrapped an agreement to sell part of its online fashion and accessories business Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) to online luxury retailer Farfetch Holdings.

The Swiss-based luxury goods group said it was pulling out of the deal after South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang said earlier on Monday that it was planning to buy Farfetch.

Richemont, which numbers jeweller Cartier and Swiss watch brands Piaget and IWC among its brands, had originally made a deal to offload an initial 47.5%% stake in YNAP to Farfetch in 2022.

The deal would also have seen Dubai Mall developer Mohamed Alabbar take a 3.2% stake on Farfetch through his investment vehicle Symphony Global.

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"As a result of the contemplated transaction announced by Farfetch on 18 December 2023, the arrangements ... announced in August 2022 cannot complete," Richemont said on Monday.

"Therefore Richemont, Farfetch and Symphony Global, one of the investment vehicles of Mr Mohamed Alabbar, have terminated the agreements."

Richemont also said it would no longer adopt Farfetch platforms at its businesses, and would not open e-concessions on the Farfetch online market place.

It said it had no financial obligations towards Farfetch and did not envisage lending or investing into the loss-making British company.

Richemont said it did not expect to be repaid for the $300 million in convertible notes Farfetch issued in November 2020 as part of an investment in a joint venture in China.

The carrying value of these notes in Richemont's accounts amounted to 218 million euros ($238.03 million)as at Nov. 30 2023, the company said.

Richemont said its businesses would continue to operate on their own platforms and had not adopted Farfetch technology.

It would also look for a new partner for YNAP.

"As a result of the termination of the agreements with Farfetch and Symphony Global, Richemont will re-evaluate options for YNAP to best harness its strengths and potential under new stewardship," the luxury group said.

($1 = 0.9158 euros)

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Miranda Murray and Catherine Evans)