Marks and Spencer Completes Acquisition of and 50/50 Joint Venture with Ocado
UNITED KINGDOM - One of Kroger’s biggest partners, Ocado, has just been scooped up by a leading U.K.-based grocer—or at least half of it has. Marks and Spencer (M&S) announced this week that it completed its acquisition of half of Ocado, marking the start of Mark and Spencer’s 50/50 Joint Venture with the online grocer. As part of the deal, Melanie Smith, the current Strategy Director at Marks and Spencer, will become CEO of Ocado Retail, effective September 1, 2019.
“Ocado Retail’s future, as part of a joint venture with M&S, is full of opportunity. The new company will be able to offer customers even greater range, service, quality, and value,” said Tim Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Ocado. “Our collaboration will also allow us to grow the business faster, add more jobs, and create more value for all our stakeholders. We are very excited to be working together. I am very excited about Ocado Retail Limited continuing to realise its fullest potential under Melanie’s leadership.”
According to a press release, the new partnership will bring together the strength of Marks and Spencer’s brand and its leading food quality and product development with Ocado’s proprietary technology and award-winning service. The two will then transition into offering over 6,500 Marks and Spencer food products on Ocado.com by September 2020.
“I have always believed that M&S Food could and should be online. The addition of Ocado to our family of businesses marks M&S’s first truly transformational step in shaping our future as a digital-first retailer,” said Steve Rowe, CEO of Marks and Spencer. “Through its unique technology, Ocado has developed the most cost advantaged model in online grocery retail, and our new partnership unlocks growth for M&S Food through an immediately profitable, scalable presence in the UK’s fastest growing grocery sales channel. I am absolutely delighted that our JV will be led by Melanie. She is a real talent; who combines extensive retail knowledge, strategic vision, and a focus on delivery.”
In addition to Melanie Smith taking on the CEO position of Ocado Retail, Steve Rowe, Stuart Machin (M&S’s Food Managing Director), Tim Steiner, and Duncan Tatton-Brown (Ocado’s Chief Financial Officer) will become the directors of Ocado Retail. Steiner will serve as Chair. Lawrence Hene, the current interim Managing Director of Ocado Retail, will be appointed Deputy CEO for a transitional period before moving back into a senior role with the Ocado group, as noted in the press release.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lawrence for his incredible achievements with ocado.com since 2011, which he has been instrumental in growing to the business it is today, and I look forward to continuing to work with him, both during his transitional role at Ocado Retail Limited and when he moves back to the Ocado Group,” Steiner continued.
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