December 4, 2012, 2:57 PM

European direct retail giant Otto acquires a big rival’s web assets

Neckermann, owned by Sun Capital, filed for bankruptcy in September.

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The assets of Neckermann Gruppe, once one of the biggest mail order and online retailers in Germany, have been acquired by Otto Group.

Otto Group, No. 2 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 400 Europe, acquired Neckermann, No. 18, after submitting the winning bid to a German bankruptcy court in Frankfurt. The purchase price was not disclosed.

In it its winning bid, Otto, the biggest German web merchant with annual e-commerce sales in excess of $6.6 billion, will acquire all of the Internet and other intellectual property for Neckermann in Germany such as domain names, mailing lists and certain other assets. “Neckermann is a brand with a strong tradition,” says Alexander Birken, an Otto executive board member for multichannel retail. “With this bid, Otto also acquires usage rights to address data in Germany, under the provisions of German data-protection law, and Otto companies will therefore be able to approach former customers with attractive offers.“

The transaction is subject to approval by the German Monopolies Commission, Otto says.

Neckermann, which genereated Internet Retailer-estimated online sales of about $1.03 billion in 2011, began laying off its staff of nearly 2,400 employees earlier this year. The retailer  and filed for bankuptcy in September after the current owner, investment banking firm Sun Capital Partners, failed to find any new investors.

The company stopped taking orders on on Sept. 30 and fulfilled all remaining orders in October, according to a posting on the Neckermann web site.

Neckermann was once one of the largest and oldest mail order companies in Germany. The company was founded in 1948 and began selling online in 1995. carried an inventory of about 700,000 items such as appareal, household goods, toys and art.

Otto has yet to provide more details on how it will operate going forward.

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