Only five years after it launched, and just a year-and-a-half after it made its initial public offering, Zulily (Nasdaq: ZU) is being acquired.
The parent company for shopping giant QVC announced Monday it will buy the Seattle online retailer for $2.4 billion worth of cash and stock. Liberty InteractiveCorp. said it will pay $18.75 per share for the company. Zulily’s share price closed at $12.57 Friday. The stock screamed up nearly 48 percent Monday morning on the news, trading for about $18.50 a share.
Zulily’s stock has been particularly volatile since the company went public in a $253 million IPO in November 2013. The IPO was a big win for early Zulily investor, Seattle venture firm Maveron, and for the company’s co-founder and chairman Mark Vadon.
Zulily’s revenue has grown faster than any other public company in the Puget Sound region over the past two years. The company topped $1 billion in revenue last year. The growth has slowed since then, though, and investors were growing wary of the company’s ability to continue making gains.
Earlier this year, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba bought $56 million worth of Zulily stock. There were rumors at the time that the company might be considering buying Zulily.
“Zulily and QVC are two distinctive customer centric brands that are passionate about delivering an exceptional shopping experience and surprising and delighting our customers, each and every day,” Zulily President and CEO Darrell Cavens said in a statement. “There are tremendous opportunities to accelerate the growth of the Zulily brand for our customers, our employees, and our vendors with QVC’s partnership.”
The companies intend to cross-market their products – QVC is best known for its television infomercials – and Zulily could begin “incorporating QVC’s deep video expertise” into its marketing plans.
Cavens and the Zulily executive team will remain in charge of the company. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.