brandsExclusive to be sold by Christmas

APN is likely to record a loss on the sale of its ecommerce company, which has drawn a range of bidders.

Established retail brands and overseas fashion houses are among the bidders that have expressed interest in buying brandsExclusive, the online shopping site for clothes and accessories owned by APN News & Media Ltd, which is expected to be sold by Christmas.

APN, after reviewing a range of indicative bids for brandsExclsuive, is unlikely to receive the $36 million it paid for the ecommerce company in June last year. APN declined to comment on what potential price it may accept for brandsExclusive.

Grant Samuel, hired by APN to manage the sale, declined to comment on a sale process that began last month.

For foreign fashion brands, an ecommerce beachhead in Australia and New Zealand such as brandsExclusive is attractive. brandsExclusive has 2.7 million members and is growing its membership numbers at 66,000 per month four years after its launch.

In the 12 months to December 31 this year, brandsExclusive is expected to generate $70 million in sales. The company is not yet profitable. 

APN is selling brandsExclusive as the online retail market is becoming increasingly competitive with apparel, homewares and cosmetics companies seeking to garner online market share by selling goods at the expense of profit margins.

Moreover, APN has a limited balance sheet with which to invest further funds in brandsExclusive and instead wants to use the funds it can get from the sale of the ecommerce company to invest in its core media business.