Walmart is buying Bonobos for $310 million

Getty Images for Bonobos

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it would buy online men's fashion retailer Bonobos Inc for $310 million, in its fourth e-commerce deal in under a year, as it seeks to bridge the gap with e-commerce leader Amazon.com Inc.

There would be some major benefits for Bonobos as well, assuming the brand wouldn't alienate too many customers by "selling out" to Walmart, as one shopper lamented on Twitter. It also means that Bonobos clothing is not available on Amazon.com. Andy Dunn, the founder and CEO of Bonobos, is taking on the company's portfolio of "digitally-native vertical brands (brands born online, and owned from design through distribution)", according to a rep for Bonobos. Founded online in 2007, Bonobos has expanded its assortment over the years and has also opened 35 brick-and-mortar stores ("Guideshops").

For Walmart, the deal marks at least its fourth acquisition of a digital-first retailer since Marc Lore took over as head of e-commerce in the US last fall - others have included Modcloth and ShoeBuy.

The acquisition is part of a broad Walmart plan to enter niche areas on its Jet.com website where its brand is not strong, USA Today said. Wal-Mart expects the acquisition will create "more new products for consumers and new ways to buy them".

"Adding innovators like Andy will continue to help us shape the future of Walmart, and the future of retail", Lore said in a statement. "In fact, Andy will be a great influence on the company, especially in leading our collection of exclusive brands offered online". Andy Dunn, Bonobos'founder and chief executive officer, will continue to oversee the brand while reporting to Wal-Mart e-commerce head Marc Lore. "So with so many customers shopping there.as you're looking to grow your e-commerce presence, it's important to be where your customers are". Wal-Mart shares are down almost 6% in Friday premarket trading in the wake of the M&A news from Amazon.com Inc.

"That will enhance the customer experience for our existing customers, " he said, while Walmart "can help the business of the companies that are new to our e-commerce family through synergies, through efficiencies in cost of goods and shipping rates".

But after sitting down with the teams from Walmart and Jet.com and hearing their vision for Bonobos, "my mind exploded", Dunn wrote.

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