The brothers behind will pocket more than $200 million as Wesfarmers eyes Kmart and Target opportunity

(Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)
  • Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers has offered $230 million to buy online Australian retailer Catch Group.
  • Catch Group was founded by Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, and has managed brands including, Scoopon and Pumpkin Patch.
  • Pending approval of the deal, it would be the latest in a string of purchases for Wesfarmers which recently bought Lithium miner Kidman Resources and tech services provider Geeks2U.

The owner of some of Australia’s most recognisable retails brands including Bunnings, Kmart and Target, plans to shell out $230 million in cash in its latest acquisition.

Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers announced on Wednesday that it has struck a deal to buy online retailer group, Catch Group Holdings, which runs e-commerce businesses including, Mumgo, Grocery Run and Brands Exclusive.

If approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Catch Group founders Gabby and Hezi Leibovich will net around $207 million from the sale.

The brothers — who own 90 per cent of the businessfounded out of their garage in 2006 before launching group discount store Scoopon in 2010.

They would go on to sell Scoopon in 2017 as well as children’s wear company Pumpkin Patch in 2018.

Under Wesfarmers’ control, the business will be run as a stand-alone operation by Kmart managing director Ian Bailey.

“[We] look forward to leveraging our capabilities to grow the business and accelerate the customer-driven, omni-channel initiatives across Kmart and Target,” Bailey said.

Wesfarmers has been looking around for new acquisitions since it demerged with supermarket chain Coles in November 2018, freeing it up to buy “growth businesses”.

Catch Group must have looked the part to the Wesfarmers board, opening a new 27,000-square-metre distribution centre in Melbourne last year and growing its offering from 35,000 products to 2 million.

Despite fierce competition from Amazon Australia, the group still managed to increase its first-quarter sales this year by around 70 per cent.

It’s the latest purchase by Wesfarmers which has been on a shopping spree since March, eyeing the electric vehicles (EV) market as well as the retail space.

Just last month, it bought out Tesla supplier Kidman Resources for $776 million after a failed $1.5 billion bid to purchase rare earths miner Lynas.

It also purchased tech services Geeks2U to integrate into its Officeworks business.