Summary: Wal-Mart will buy Jet.com for $3.3 billion.
Since its official launch in July, Jet.com had established itself as a cool online retailer. Its prices for goods like toilet paper or cleaning supplies were similar to what you would find at stores, and the customer service was top notch. This reputation caught the attention of another retail giant—Wal-Mart, who was looking for a way to dominate the e-commerce space. And like the expression, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” Wal-Mart joined ’em for a massive $3.3 billion.
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According to Recode, Wal-Mart will acquire Jet for $3.3 billion in cash and stock. This is the largest acquisition ever for an e-commerce company, and the deal was finalized this weekend. Jet’s sale gives Wal-Mart access to its technology, vendor network, leadership, brand and 4 million customers.
Founder and CEO Marc Lore will stay on to run Jet as well as Wal-Mart’s American online operations. Wal-Mart’s global e-commerce chief Neil Ashe will reportedly exit the company.
Jet executives will receive $300,000 in Wal-mart stock as part of an incentive package.
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Wal-mart CEO Doug McMillon said that his company needed to close the gap between Wal-Mart and Amazon. While Wal-Mart has annual online sales of $14 billion, Amazon dominates with $99 billion. Additionally, Wal-Mart also has been decelerating in e-commerce growth for the past five quarters.
Jet.com was co-founded in 2014 by Marc Lore as an attempt to compete with Amazon, Costco, and yes, even Wal-Mart. They had secured $800 million in financing and were spending up to $25 million on advertising a month. The new company was not yet profitable when Wal-Mart took notice.
Like Amazon, Jet.com sold its own wares but also had a network of vendors that listed their products on the website and would ship orders to Jet customers. Jet would take a percentage of the vendors’ orders, and as of March, the company was expected to sell over $1 billion worth of merchandise during the year.
Lore previously started the similar e-commerce company Daipers.com, which he sold to Amazon for $550 million in 2011.
Before Wal-Mart’s deal, the largest U.S e-commerce acquisition was QVC’s buyout of Zulily for $2.4 billion.