Kogan buys Matt Blatt for $4.4m cash

Ruslan Kogan

Melbourne based ASX-listed online enterprise Kogan has paid $4.4 million for the Matt Blatt business.

The high-end furniture brand collapsed in late March – one of several retailers to do so in the fortnight following the introduction of social distancing measures in Australia – and shut its 12 stores.

Founded in 1981, the Drexler family company sold predominantly Asia-sourced replicas – and is renowned for expensive stock.

Of its 2019 profit ($46.5 million), 20-25 per cent was a result of online sales.

In a statement yesterday, Kogan described Matt Blatt as an Australian online furniture retailer pioneer “focused on creating happy spaces and happy experiences”.

Its purchase will be funded from cash reserves, chief executive officer Ruslan Kogan said.

The recently vacated Matt Blatt distribution centre in Oakleigh South, owned by Stockland – and now occupied by a rival online-only furniture retailer, Sello Products.

“We are pleased to bring the iconic Matt Blatt brand into new ownership and relaunch the business as an online-only offering,” he added.

“Our acquisition…gives us a springboard from which to expand our reach in the furniture and homeware market.

“We will be drawing on Matt Blatt’s decades of industry expertise and combining it with kogan.com’s technology, systems and infrastructure to deliver a market-leading offering”.

Its will however continue to trade from the mattblatt.com.au web page.

In 2018, the furniture store relocated its distribution centre to Sydney from a Melbourne facility Stockland has just built speculatively in Oakleigh South.

Initially the occupier sought to assign its rental agreement, which had four years left to run.

Instead the landlord surrendered it and found Sello Products – coincidentally an online-only furniture retailer offering – to take it over.

For Kogan, the Matt Blatt acquisition is an example of continued eCommerce-based diversification.

In September, 2018, it entered the home loan market via a partnership with Adelaide Bank and Pepper Financial Services Group – the latter with which it intends to service credit impaired borrowers.

Kogan also provides internet service, insurance and mobile phones. In 2016, it bought the Dick Smith website.

Belarus-born Mr Kogan moved to Melbourne in 1989, at about six years old – reportedly starting his first business at 10 finding, cleaning and then selling lost golf balls around Elsternwick Golf Club, where he lived.

It was also at about this age his family bought him a computer from a Caulfield Town Hall swap meet, and his interest in technology is said to have began.

Businesses followed, including in web design and mobile phoner repair.

Ruslan Kogan’s interest in technology reportedly started aged nine after his parents bought him a computer from a swap meet at Caulfield Town Hall.

Educated at Monash University, the now Toorak based executive spent the early part of his professional career with Bosch, GE and Telstra.

He left a position with Accenture to focus full-time on the eponymous website in 2006 – aged 23.

Initially marketing popular small electrical goods like digital radios, GPS devices, laptop computers and tablets, the online store stocked a large range, with high-profile marques like Apple – alongside its own Kogan-branded products which were usually amongst the most competitively priced.

Last week Bardot re-opened as an online-only enterprise following it entering voluntary administration late last year and closing over 70 bricks-and-mortar outlets.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.