The luxury goods behemoth behind brands such as Christian Dior and Fendi is leading a multimillion-pound injection of funds into Lyst, the UK-based fashion search engine.
Sky News has learnt that LVMH, the champagne-to-perfumes conglomerate, will be the largest investor in a capital-raising expected to be announced by Lyst this week.
LVMH is one of the world’s biggest luxury goods groups, and its interest in backing Lyst may indicate an eventual desire to acquire the e-commerce company outright, according to one insider.
Last month, LVMH announced the launch of a programme to invest in international start-ups focused on creating new products and services for the luxury market.
Details of the Lyst deal were unclear this weekend, although one source said it was raising between £50m and £100m at a significant premium to the valuation of its last funding round.
Lyst, which was founded in 2010, is an online fashion aggregator which competes with rivals such as Farfetch and Matches Fashion.
The company has about 70 million users annually, and offers more than five million fashion products from thousands of the world’s leading brands, including Balenciaga, Burberry and Valentino.
Its latest fundraising is thought to be its first since 2015, when it attracted $40m from investors such as Groupe Arnault, LVMH’s controlling shareholder, and leading venture capital firms including Accel Partners and Balderton Capital.
One source said that LVMH, rather than Groupe Arnault, was directly leading Lyst’s new investment.
Chris Morton, Lyst’s founder and chief executive, has consistently refused to disclose the price tag that fundraisings have attached to the company.
The latest deal comes at a time of significant growth in the online fashion sector, with Farfetch preparing to list its shares in New York as soon as this year at an estimated $5bn valuation.
Last year, Apax Partners, the British buyout firm, acquired Matches Fashion in a takeover worth about £800m.
Lyst did not respond to a request for comment, while an LVMH spokesman declined to comment.