BlackRock has made an undisclosed investment in Grupo Axo, a Mexico-based multi-brand retail platform backed by General Atlantic. General Atlantic invested in the multi-brand retailer in 2017.
(Press Release) Grupo Axo, a leading Latin American multi-brand retail platform and partner to global fashion brands, today announced an equity investment from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. Grupo Axo will leverage the new funds to continue its expansion across Latin America as a premier brand steward and operator, with a particular focus on continuing the expansion of its digital channels. The funds and accounts managed by BlackRock join Grupo Axo’s global investor base, including existing shareholder General Atlantic.
Grupo Axo’s differentiated platform encompasses a diversified brand ecosystem underpinned by nearly three decades of experience as a multichannel operator and distributor of internationally-recognized brands, including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Victoria’s Secret, among others. Grupo Axo holds licenses and exclusive distribution rights to a broad portfolio of 20 global brands, nine owned brands, and one non-exclusive partnership with Nike in Mexico. The business operates across four business divisions, spanning Full-Price, Off-Price, Athletics, and Privalia, a subscription based, off-price online marketplace. This multichannel platform provides Grupo Axo with the unique opportunity for control across the full spectrum of the product lifecycle, from merchandising at the beginning of a season through end-of-season discounting. Grupo Axo’s portfolio has also been specifically curated to anticipate and respond to the fashion and price-point preferences of different market segments.
Grupo Axo’s investments in its digital channels meaningfully accelerated the growth of the business over the past year despite a downturn in the broader retail sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s digital channel grew 8.5x in 2020, with digital sales representing 31% of Grupo Axo’s consolidated sales in 1Q21. Grupo Axo’s momentum is also supported by recent key strategic acquisitions, including Tennix S.A. de C.V., which operates TAF stores in Mexico, in 2018, and Privalia’s Latin America online platform (ex-Brazil), in 2019.
Andres Gomez, co-CEO at Grupo Axo, said: “We are honored to welcome funds and accounts managed by BlackRock to our investor base as we focus on the sustained growth of the business in Latin America and across channels. Over the past year, the acceleration of our digital offering, combined with our omnichannel strategy, has consolidated Grupo Axo’s position as a key e-commerce fashion player in the region. We are energized by the potential for Grupo Axo to continue strengthening our expertise and footprint as the partner of choice for global brands operating in Latin America.”
Russ Steenberg, Managing Director and Global Head of BlackRock Private Equity Partners, added, “Grupo Axo is strongly positioned as a premium brand steward and brings expertise in the retail ecosystem across Mexico and Latin America. We believe the business has significant whitespace to scale and capture additional opportunity across retail channels and segments. We are pleased to join a high-quality investor group and look forward to partnering with Andres, Alberto, and the highly experienced Grupo Axo management team to fuel the continued growth of the business.”
Luis Cervantes, General Atlantic Managing Director, Head of the Mexico City Office, and Grupo Axo Board Director, added, “Over the nearly four years of our partnership together, Grupo Axo has remained intently focused on the growth of its business, seeking to provide a seamless shopping experience across all online and offline channels, and leveraging its integrated model to support each brand’s specific needs. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Grupo Axo team, and are thrilled to welcome funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, as we focus on further deepening the company’s differentiated digital capability set and omnichannel platform.”
At the same time as the closing of the investment by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Grupo Axo will separately ratify Andres Gomez as Chairman of the Board and CEO, and Alberto Fasja will be confirmed as Board Member and strategic member of the company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
About Grupo Axo
Grupo Axo is a Latin American premier partner to global fashion brands. Founded in Mexico in 1994, Grupo Axo leverages more than 26 years of experience in brand stewardship across the retail, wholesale, and e-commerce channels to serve as a multi-brand operator and distributor for its leading global client base, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works, Brooks Brothers, Brunello Cucinelli, Calvin Klein, Coach, Crate and Barrel, Guess, Hollister, IZOD, Laces, Lust, NIKE, PVH Heritage Brands, Rapsodia, Speedo, TAF, Tommy Hilfiger, TAF Kids, Victoria´s Secret, and Warner’s. Grupo Axo operates more than 5,500 retail and wholesale points of sale across Latin America. The company also owns and operates Promoda, a leading Mexican off-price retailer, and Privalia, an off-price multi-brand e-commerce retailer, as well as Reduced, Rewind, and Urban Store, additional off-price store concepts.
About BlackRock Private Equity Partners
As private equity moves from alternative to essential, investors are seeking to build specific private equity portfolios catering to their individual needs. BlackRock has a history of leading the evolution of our industry to better serve our clients and has built a private equity platform that continues in that tradition. Our strategies span the private equity toolkit, offering investors exposure through direct, primary, secondary and co-investment strategies and draw on a common set of institutional advantages—our global scale and sourcing network, investment transaction experience and access to insights amplified with analytics and technology—to deliver top quartile performance through an entire investment cycle. On behalf of, and in partnership with our clients, BlackRock builds diversified portfolios of investments across the spectrum of private equity, including leveraged buyouts, venture capital, growth equity and distressed/opportunistic strategies.
BlackRock Private Equity Partners has over 160 dedicated professionals in 5 global offices and manages US$38.5 billion in client commitments as of March 31, 2021.
About General Atlantic
General Atlantic is a leading global growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies. Established in 1980, General Atlantic combines a collaborative global approach, sector specific expertise, a long-term investment horizon and a deep understanding of growth drivers to partner with great entrepreneurs and management teams to build market-leading businesses worldwide. General Atlantic has more than 175 investment professionals based in New York, Amsterdam, Beijing, Greenwich, Hong Kong, Jakarta, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Munich, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore. For more information on General Atlantic, please visit the website: www.generalatlantic.com.