UPDATE: A well-placed source says Amazon and Vente-Privee have had talks in the past year but does not believe that Amazon is about to buy the company. That doesn’t preclude a deal at some point, obviously, especially with Amazon’s stock price in the stratosphere.
EARLIER: Amazon is in talks to acquire French private sales company Vente-Privee for around $3 billion, Mike Butcher at TechCrunch Europe reports.
We asked Xavier Court, marketing director at Vente-Privee, on the record if Amazon had acquired Vente-Privee. His response was “Very flattering but not true at all.”
However, our sources say that although the two companies have not yet agreed anything, they are in fact negotiating a price close to 2 billion Euros, or $3.01 billion. In October we learned that Vente-Privee was looking for a sale of between $2 billion and $4 billion.
Vente-Privee was the inspiration for Gilt Groupe, a US-based private-sale company founded two years ago that should do $300+ million of revenue next year. Private sales are a great business, but the secret is out: Vente-Privee, Gilt, et al, have spawned dozens of competitors.
If Amazon does buy Vente-Privee, it will be interesting to see what happens with Gilt.
Vente-Privee is strong in France. Amazon will likely want to also be strong in the U.S. and elsewhere. Amazon could do that by trying to import Vente-Privee…or by also buying Gilt or another US player.
Disclosure: Our co-founders, Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman, also co-founded Gilt.