With the local ecommerce landscape having shifted overnight with the official launch of Amazon in Australia, ecommerce businesses Catch Group and Lux Group have today announced the swapping of several assets and the creation of a new joint venture in a bid to streamline each of their offerings.
To focus on travel, Lux Group has acquired Catch Group’s BonVoyage and Scoopon Travel platforms, while Catch Group will take on Lux Group’s Brands Exclusive and The Home to sit alongside its existing product-focused platforms, which include Catch.com.au and Pumpkin Patch.
A new joint venture has also been created through the merging of Catch Group and Lux Group’s experience businesses, including Scoopon, Cudo, LivingSocial, and New Zealand’s Treat Me. To be independently operated, each business will have a 50/50 stake in the joint venture.
Catch Group cofounders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich will attain a 20 percent stake in Lux Group as part of the deal.
Gabby Leibovich said the deal “makes a lot of sense” for Catch Group.
“Our strength is in sourcing products and we have mastered the logistics of ecommerce. We are excited to be able to offer our products and expertise to over a million new customers of BrandsExclusive, TheHome, Cudo and LivingSocial. This addition will strengthen our buying power and our brand in Australia, which means even better deals for Aussie consumers,” he said.
Adam Schwab, managing director of Lux Group said the “transformative transaction” will allow Lux Group to establish a “focused and scaled” travel ecommerce business with over $300 million of pro-forma turnover.
“We are also excited to welcome Gabby and Hezi as new shareholders in Lux Group, and look forward to working productively together as we drive growth through our newly formed local business,” Schwab said.
Catch Group had launched Bon Voyage, a platform allowing travellers to find and book luxury travel experiences, in June in partnership with former Miss Universe and Myer brand ambassador Jennifer Hawkins.
This had come just a few weeks after the rebranding of its flagship product Catch of the Day to Catch and the addition of up to 300 new sellers in a move that was seen as the company preparing for the launch of Amazon.
The much-anticipated launch of Amazon today, meanwhile, has underwhelmed, with Morgan Stanley writing in a research report today that “the offer isn’t that competitive”.
However, this is sure to change.
“While clearly Amazon will improve its offer over the coming years, we think the prospects of a pricing reset is low, ranging is relatively weak and delivery times are not as favourable as existing leading retailers,” the report stated.
Of course, Amazon’s plan is long-term.
Country manager for Amazon in Australia Rocco Braeuniger said, “By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come.”
Image: Nati Harpaz, Adam Schwab, Gabby Leibovich.
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