Jacques-Antoine Granjon, the billionaire founder of Vente Privée, the huge private sales site valued at $3 billion, gave an interview today to French business daily La Tribune. He revealed some of the numbers about the business as well as his future ambitions.
Here’s what we learned:
- Vente Privée revenue was $1.3 billion in 2010 and will be $1.5 billion this year.
- Vente Privée has profit margins around 6-7%. This is huge for online retailing, especially discounting. Granjon doesn’t go into the reasons for this, but we’re told that Vente Privée has excellent relationships with the brands it purchases inventory from, so it probably gets them at an even lower price. Meanwhile they’re so huge that they can afford to sell things at less discount (does 70% off make that much of a difference vs 60% off?) to their audience. And their operations are said to be very efficient. Granjon doesn’t say so, but this also means that VP has hundreds of millions of cash on its balance sheet which it can use for strategic acquisitions. VP has grown organically so far, but Granjon is ambitious and could pull out the checkbook at some point.
- Granjon doesn’t think much of his competitors. Vente Privée has zillions of imitators now in Europe, none of whom are big, and Granjon bashed them in the interview. He thinks the real competition will come from Amazon and eBay, who recently bought two of those small competitors.
- He wants VP to generate $15 billion in revenue eventually. How? By becoming “the Amazon of the event sale” in Europe — selling everything from trips to shows to store discounts. He wants to do “more than Groupon” but is thin on details. But few people who have underestimated Granjon have ever made money.
Curious about the story of Vente Privée and its colourful, billionaire founder? Check out our profile of Jacques-Antoine Granjon →