Marks & Spencer has formed a £1.5bn online delivery joint venture with Ocado to bring M&S’s ready meals to internet shoppers for the first time.
M&S will pay £750m for a 50% share of Ocado’s UK retail business to form the new business, which will trade as Ocado.com. The venture will not start trading until September 2020 at the latest, when Ocado’s present deal to deliver Waitrose products expires. Only 10% of the products on sale at Ocado.com will be M&S-branded goods.
Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer’s chief executive, said he had “always believed that M&S Food could and should be online” and combining M&S’s food with Ocado’s technology and delivery network was a “win-win” and “compelling proposition to drive long-term growth”. He added: “Our investment in a fully aligned joint venture with Ocado accelerates our food strategy as it enables us to take our food online in an immediately profitable, scalable and sustainable way.”
Tim Steiner, the chief executive of Ocado, described the deal as a “transformative moment in the UK retail sector” that would combine “two iconic and much-loved retail brands set to provide an unrivalled online grocery offer”. Steiner added also that the joint venture would allow Ocado to “grow faster, add more jobs, and create more value as we lead the channel shift to e-commerce here in the UK. We are very excited by the many opportunities ahead.”
Source: The Guardian