Signet Jewelers to Acquire Israeli R2Net, Owner of JamesAllen.Com for $328 Million in Cash

Signet, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, has acquired R2Net for its innovative technologies include 360° Diamond Display Technology

 

 R2Net, owner of JamesAllen.com CEO Odded Edlman / photo Tzvika Tishler, Calcalist

 

Signet Jewelers Limited, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, has acquired Israeli online jewelry retailer R2Net for $328 million in an all cash transaction. R2Net is the owner of  JamesAllen.com, and Segoma Imaging Technologies, which has developed a unique technology for photographing jewelry and presenting them in 3D.

IGP, which acquired 25% of the shares of R2Net for $25 million at the end of 2014, is expected to make an impressive exit.

IGP, founded by Moshe Lichtman and Haim Shani, is the only external investor in the company. Shani was formerly CEO of the Ministry of Finance and CEO of NICE and Lichtman was formerly vice president of Microsoft, and in his last position was director of Microsoft’s research and development center in Israel.

The acquisition will create an enhanced customer shopping experience. R2Net’s innovative technologies include proprietary 360° Diamond Display Technology, Virtual Ring Sizer and Ring Try-On mobile application.

R2Net sold 400,000 diamonds and jewelry using this technology. The two companies have promoted joint development of a trading platform designed to significantly streamline processes for all diamond dealers.

R2Net does not store jewelry but is a retail arena that encourages diamantaires to compete for the lowest price to the customer through reverse auctions. The auction is held behind the scenes, so the user gets a final price that is 25% to 40% lower than the prices at the major jewelry sites. The company’s website brings together dozens of jewelry vendors and presents them together in a uniform high-resolution three-dimensional display.

Founded in 2006 by Oded Edelman, James Schultz, Michele Sigler and Dean Lederman R2Net has technology innovation centers in Israel and headquartered in New York City with global operations, including 24/7 customer service operations in Frederick, Maryland.

Virginia C. Drosos, Chief Executive Officer of Signet said: “This is a highly strategic acquisition for Signet. The James Allen brand and R2Net’s technologies and innovative approach present a unique opportunity to rapidly enhance our digital capabilities and create a distinctive customer shopping experience which more seamlessly integrates our digital and physical retail platform. We look forward to the R2Net team, who have been long-term partners on our Jared Design-A-Ring platform, joining the Signet family. Together, we will redefine the jewelry shopping experience and further accelerate our Customer-First OmniChannel strategy.”

Oded Edelman, Co-founder and CEO of R2Net said: “We founded JamesAllen.com with a mission to offer beautiful rings, simplicity, selection, pricing transparency and overall value to consumers online. By joining forces with Signet, we believe we will be able to accelerate the growth of JamesAllen.com and our adjacent R2Net businesses while continuing to build on our unique culture and technology. The Signet and R2Net teams have a shared belief that consumers deserve the best jewelry shopping experience and we look forward to continuing to build innovative technologies together to enhance the consumer experience across the Signet brand portfolio. I am excited to be working with Ms. Drosos and the Signet team to delight jewelry consumers whether in-store, online, or by phone.”

The transaction is currently expected to close in the third quarter of fiscal 2018 subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval and will be financed with a term loan provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., which is expected to be repaid in full by the end of fiscal 2018.

Signet sees significant growth and value creation opportunities from the implementation of R2Net’s technology across its physical and online retail platforms. Signet anticipates the transaction to be accretive in the first full year of operations.

Following the acquisition, R2Net brands will largely operate as an independent division of Signet and its current leadership team will remain intact. In addition to his role as President of JamesAllen.com, Edelman will become Chief Digital Innovation Advisor of Signet, where he will report directly to Drosos and assume the responsibility for driving Signet’s digital innovation strategy. As a sign of commitment to the long-term vision of Signet and R2Net, Edelman and the R2Net founders have agreed, subject to the completion of the transaction, to invest a portion of their transaction proceeds in Signet shares.

 

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- Emmy-Award Winning former 60 Minutes Producer, Barry Lando, is author of a new novel "The Watchman's File" available at Amazon, and as a download for Kindle. barry-lando.squarespace.com

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