Subscription commerce retailer Birchbox has discussed a potential sale to many retailers, including Wal-Mart. Recode reports talks took place between Wal-Mart's U.S. E-Commerce Chief, Marc Lore, and Birchbox Co-Founder and CEO, Katia Beauchamp. Birchbox has raised more than $80 million from investors since it was founded in 2010, in addition to previously undisclosed venture debt that the startup secured in 2015. However, the glow of subscription commerce has started to fade, and Birchbox's debt is coming due in early 2018. Business of Fashion reports with multiple buyout offers on the table, Birchbox has to decide if it will remain independent or restructure under a sale.
Total Retail's Take: If Wal-Mart were to buy Birchbox, it would represent the retail giant's fifth e-commerce acquisition since last August. Other recent acquisitions include men's fashion brand Bonobos; women's fashion and lifestyle brand ModCloth; and, of course, e-commerce giant Jet.com. What most of Wal-Mart's most recent acquisitions have in common is all them are considered digital-first companies, and Birchbox fits that mold. Wal-Mart has focused heavily on acquisitions and digital growth in its attempt to compete with Amazon.com; adding Birchbox to its organization will only further that effort.