June 13, 2024

Farfetch Investors Form Group to Oppose Coupang Acquisition

Farfetch’s financial stress continues only a month after finding its white knight.

A group of investors, called the 2027 Ad Hoc Group, formed this month to stop South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang’s forthcoming acquisition of the embattled luxury e-tailer.

That deal, which was announced last December and included a $500 million bridge loan to keep Farfetch afloat, is not yet finalised. It also wiped out all equity holders, including company employees. The group, which holds more than 50 percent of Farfetch’s convertible notes that are due in 2027, is requesting that Farfetch pay back those debts in full immediately.

The Ad Hoc Group group has expressed fear that Farfetch is locked into its deal with Coupang and the e-tailer’s value will plummet under the South Korean firm’s ownership. The terms of Coupang’s bridge loan requires any competing bidder to foot a $1 billion fee and a $20 million termination fee.

The Ad Hoc Group also accused Farfetch of a lack of transparency on its cash troubles. Last August, Farfetch projected it would end 2023 with $800 million in cash but was frantically seeking a bailout four months later. Farfetch, which went public in 2018, ended 2023 with around $2.8 billion in financial obligations that include convertible notes, according to estimates from Bernstein.

Other backers quickly came to grips with their losses. In a December statement, Richemont said it did not expect $300 million in loans it had issued to Farfetch to be repaid.

Farfetch declined to comment. Coupang did not respond to a request for comment.

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