Mytheresa CEO Michael Kliger on taking fashion’s latest billion-dollar brand public
If anyone is enjoying a great January it has to be Michael Kliger, CEO of Mytheresa.com, who this month pulled off an IPO valuing the online retailer at $2.2 billion.
Due to the pandemic, Kliger cannot be on Wall Street this Thursday to ring the famous bell, when Mytheresa begins quotations on the New York market, but he can be justly proud of the luxury merchant’s impressive successful launch.
Under the terms of the IPO, Mytheresa’s owner MYT Netherlands Parent offered for sale 15,647,059 American Depository Shares at $26 each, raising a neat $407 million. MYT has also granted underwriters a 30-day option to sell another 2,347,058 shares, potentially raking in a further $61 million.
These figures represent a remarkable run for Mytheresa, which a decade and a half ago was a small insider Munich boutique for affluent Bavarians. Kliger joined from eBay Enterprises in 2015.
Just before Mytheresa shares began trading – its ticker symbol is on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning, we Zoomed with an evidently ebullient Kliger. Here is what he had to say.
FashionNetwork.com: Why do you think the market has been so receptive to Mytheresa’s IPO?
Michael Kliger: I think there are three elements. First, our story in luxury online is still at the beginning; and we are expecting that the share of people who buy luxury online will triple in the next few years. Mytheresa also take a very distinct and unique position in this market. We try to focus on the high end of luxury and we have one of the best customer groups possible, which makes us more attractive. We get capsules and great exclusives, so that makes us different and distinct. And, we have been growing while being profitable – when you combined the two you have a rather unique profile in e-commerce in general. Not many labels can say that.
FNW: Who has been buying your shares?
MK: I don’t know exactly. But during the investor roadshow of the past two weeks we have fully focused on the global community, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. So now we will have global investors.
FNW: Do you miss not ringing the bell?
MK: We are still three hours away. It starts at 9 a.m. New York time. Honestly,
I would have loved to have rung the bell, but during this mess that is the pandemic it’s not possible.
FNW: What do you plan to do with the money raised?
MK: First we will pay off a large shareholder loan of $207 million. And so we will be debt-free. The remainder will stay in the company to build our business in North America and in Asia, where we see mind-boggling potential.
FNW: After the IPO, who are the controlling shareholders in Mytheresa?
MK: Following the reorganization, we will have sold about 20% of the company; and one company, MYT, which is made up of Neiman Marcus and others, will control the rest.
FNW: What is the secret to Mytheresa’s success?
MK: One key secret is that we are so focused. We stick to our knitting and resist the temptations of more brands and more projects – so we are focused and true.
The other key element, we are really good at execution as we have the team and passion get things done. I hear in the market people saying, ‘you guys deliver what you promised.’ That sound boring but is a real asset in fashion!
FNW: Define Mytheresa’s DNA?
MK: A curated boutique-like offering that combines the efficiency and convenience of a digital platform. We treat every customer seriously but being a boutique we cannot be everything for everyone. Our customers are keen on a frictionless experience, and we provide that. You know, we still have the original boutique and it’s the best in all of Germany. We believe our heritage is important so when we started in menswear we opened a little men’s store in Munich too.
FNW: What does the success of Mytheresa, Farfetch and YNAP mean for the future of department stores?
MK: I remain a big fan of department stores and I strongly believe that the consumers will still want to go to physical stores. Maybe companies like ours will eventually represent a 30% market share but I believe that 70% will still be bricks and mortar.
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