Wal-Mart Close to Acquiring Bonobos for About $300 Million

  • World’s largest retailer seeks to boost online cachet
  • Clothing startup has reversed e-commerce only strategy

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in talks to buy men’s clothing retail startup Bonobos Inc. for about $300 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The discussions are in the final stages, though the timing of a deal hasn’t been determined, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. 

Wal-Mart has been on a tear of late, buying e-commerce startups and emerging brands that used the internet to grow. Bonobos would represent Wal-Mart’s latest attempt to build its cachet online. The company acquired Jet.com for $3.3 billion last year in a deal that transformed Wal-Mart’s web operations and brought in a fresh team of e-commerce executives. It followed that by snapping up smaller sites, including outdoor retailer Moosejaw and women’s apparel seller ModCloth, earlier this year.

Founded in 2007, Bonobos started by selling dress pants to men and quickly expanded its repertoire to shorts and colorful plaid shirts. While the brand started as an online-only retailer, Chief Executive Officer Andy Dunn has in recent years started to incorporate brick-and-mortar stores into its strategy. 

Bonobos has raised more than $120 million in total capital, according to CrunchBase, from investors including Coppel Capital, Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and retailer Nordstrom Inc. -- which sells the brand’s products in its department stores.

The news of the deal talks was reported by technology news website Recode on Friday.

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