Retail Channels

Dealboard: Global-e acquires Borderfree, eBay buys KnownOrigin

Plus, new funding for grocery, footwear and food tech.

illustration of people shaking hands

(Illustration by The Current)

Welcome to Dealboard. In this weekly feature, The Current is providing a look at the mergers, acquisitions and venture capital deals making waves in the ecommerce and consumer goods landscape.

This week, cross-border commerce companies team up, eBay acquires an NFT marketplace and a pair of automotive ecommerce platforms raise new funds.

Check out the details:

M&A

Global-e acquires Borderfree from Pitney Bowes

Cross-border commerce is in focus with one of the most-talked-about acquisitions of the week.

Global-e, which enables direct-to-consumer ecommerce internationally, is acquiring Borderfree from shipping company Pitney Bowes for $100 million in cash, the companies announced.

Borderfree helps retailers localize a website to a specific country as they expand, offering this service for more than 200 countries. Now, that service will be extended to Global-e customers, while Borderfree clients will gain access to Global-e's data models and algorithms, among other offerings.

With the deal, Pitney Bowes will provide ecommerce logistics services to Global-e and its clients.

eBay acquires NFT marketplace KnownOrigin

Ecommerce platform eBay acquired KnownOrigin, a platform that provides artists with a place to create nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that serve as digital collectibles.

Founded in 2018 in Manchester, UK, KnownOrigin enables artists and collectors to buy and resell NFTs. eBay said this addition is part of a “tech-led reimagination” of the 23-year-old marketplace. It started allowing buying and selling of NFTs in 2021.

"eBay is the first stop for people across the globe who are searching for that perfect, hard-to-find, or unique addition to their collection and, with this acquisition, we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles," said Jamie Iannone, CEO of eBay, in a statement. "KnownOrigin has built up an impressive, passionate and loyal group of artists and collectors making them a perfect addition to our community of sellers and buyers.”

FUNDING

Ocado Group raises £875m

London-based grocery tech company Ocado Group raised a total of £875M in new funding, which translates to a dollar value of about $1.1 billion. This included a £578m equity placement and a new £300m revolving credit facility.

The company owns a 50% stake in online grocery platform Ocado.com. It also offers fulfillment technology to grocers such as Kroger.

With the funding, it plans to make good on plans to build 50 customer fulfillment centers to 11 grocers around the world.

Miracle Miles Group raises $100 million Series A

Miracle Miles Group, a footwear tech company that also operates consumer brands, raised $100 million in a Series A funding round.

Led by DG Capital and Sequoia Capital China, the funding round will help the company expand globally.

"This round of funding has been closed despite a particularly challenging and turbulent capital market, which shows the confidence of world-class investors in the strength of our business," said Founder Brian Cao, in a statement. "To prepare for global expansion, the company is developing an intelligent cloud platform to analyze the industry's big data. Establishing highly-efficient digital management systems enhances the entire product life cycle from product design and development to end-consumer business."

Additionally, LA-based Miracle Miles operates three brands: Women’s footwear brand Dream Pairs, outdoor recreation line Nortiv8 and menswear brand Bruno Marc.

Carparts.com secures $75M credit facility


Carparts.com, an ecommerce platform for auto parts and accessories, said it increased an existing credit facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank to $75 million.

This comes after the Torrance, California-based company said it posted record first quarter revenue of $166 million, which was up 80% on a two-year stack.

"This credit facility gives us a non-dilutive source of capital that will allow us to focus on financially disciplined growth and we are optimistic about our ability to succeed regardless of the economic environment," said CEO David Meniane, in a statement.

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin sells stake in Sixers, Devils

Michael Rubin, the CEO of online sportswear retailer Fanatics, is selling his stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Rubin, who owns a 10% equity stake in the company per ESPN, cited growth at Fanatics as the reason he is departing the minority ownership role. He released a statement that said the following in part:

“As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers. With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year — which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally — and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues. Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan.”

Frasers Group ups stake in Hugo Boss

The London-based retail and fashion house Frasers Group now owns a 4.9% stake in Hugo Boss after increasing its holding in the luxury brand.

The company’s stake is now worth 900 million euros, according to a regulatory filing.

“This investment reflects Frasers Group's belief in the Hugo Boss brand, strategy and management team,” the company wrote. “Frasers Group continues to intend to be a supportive stakeholder and create value in the interests of both Frasers Group's and Hugo Boss' shareholders.”

Autozen raises $5M

Car-buying marketplace Autozen raised $5 million in a seed round.

The funding for the Vancouver, Canada-based company was led by Vanedge Capital, with participation from Anges Québec, several super-angels and the company’s existing investors.

Autozen operates a consumer-to-business model, in which cars are sold to professional buyers.

Following the funding round, the company plans to expand to Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. It is also launching a US presence, starting with Seattle.

Chinova Bioworks raises $6M for clean-label ingredients

Food tech company Chinova Bioworks raised $6 million in a Series A investment.

The round was co-led by DSM Venturing and Rhapsody Venture Partners, with Rich Products Ventures also participating.

The New Brunswick, Canada-based company developed a clean-label preservative that is created from the stems of white button mushrooms that would otherwise be discarded. Called Chiber, it is vegan, kosher, Halal, and allergen-free.

Going forward, the company plans to grow its team, launch new products and expand production capacity at a facility on Prince Edward Island that is set to open later this summer.

"Chinova has been crushing it for more than five years. It’s been amazing to see how quickly Chinova has been able to add customers, making investing a no-brainer,” said Bernard Lupien, general partner at Rhapsody Venture Partners, in a statement. “Furthermore, Chinova’s planet-friendly process of upcycling the otherwise discarded stems of white button mushrooms to create Chiber is precisely what consumers are asking for.”

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