Luxury Retailer in Kuwait Hires Citigroup to Advise on Options

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Kuwait’s Boutiqaat hired Citigroup Inc. to explore strategic options for the online retailer of luxury goods and cosmetics, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The U.S. bank is working with the company on possibilities including a partial sale of the business and fund raising, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.

Boutiqaat is seeking a valuation of about $700 million, two of the people said, while another person familiar with the company’s plans said it’s targeting around $1 billion. The company was valued at about $500 million in a 2019 funding round, they said.

Discussions are at an early stage and the company hasn’t yet reached potential investors, the people said. Representatives for Boutiqaat didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Citigroup declined to comment.

Founded in 2015 by a Kuwaiti entrepreneur, Boutiqaat offers product recommendations from more than 200 Arab celebrities and social-media influencers, according to its website. Describing itself as the “go-to place for fashionistas and make-up addicts,” the platform offers beauty tutorials and products ranging from perfume to face masks from 700 luxury brands, including Cartier and Gigi Hadid.

Demand for online retail is expected to grow in the Middle East, given that e-commerce penetration lags other parts of the world. That’s largely due to a burgeoning young population who enjoy higher disposable incomes and spend increasingly more time shopping online. Lockdown measures related to the coronavirus pandemic are also boosting demand.

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