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mergers & acquisitions | Jul 13, 2022 |
Emerald Holding acquires wholesale marketplace Bulletin

Emerald Holding, Inc.—the owner of NY Now, a wholesale market for brands, buyers and designers—announced today that it has acquired Bulletin, a wholesale digital marketplace that hosts more than 3,000 independent brands for over 26,000 omnichannel and online-only retailers. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Launched in 2015 by Alana Branston and Ali Kriegsman, Bulletin began as a newsletter highlighting small businesses and independent brands. A little more than a year later, its founders scaled the company into a retail concept where brands could pay a monthly membership fee for access to pop-up markets and stores. By 2019, the pair decided to close the physical retail concept and instead channel the growing demand from brands into Bulletin’s current iteration: a curated marketplace offering clothing, handbags, beauty, jewelry, home and lifestyle products.

Following the purchase, all Bulletin employees will join the Emerald team, with Branston and Kriegsman moving into leadership positions overseeing both Bulletin and NY Now—Branston as group vice president of the gift and home categories and Kriegsman as vice president of strategy across gift and home channels. The merger will introduce a mix of in-person and e-commerce offerings that benefit both groups, including the creation of a digital platform to facilitate transactions between brands and retailers. Through the newly combined entity, NY Now will also benefit from access to Bulletin’s extensive customer base of brands and retailers.

In acquiring the digital B2B marketplace, Emerald follows in the footsteps of several other operators of physical markets that have recently launched platforms for wholesale buyers and sellers to do business online. International Market Centers was one of the latest to get in the game—introducing its marketplace Juniper at the beginning of this year after pouring roughly $100 million in investments from Blackstone into the B2B space—while private investment company Crow Holdings (which also owns the Dallas Market Center) is currently assembling a platform called MarketTime. Meanwhile, the first player in the space, Faire, secured two major funding rounds in 2021, putting its valuation at $12 billion and setting the company on the route to further expansion.

For Emerald, the purchase is in line with NY Now’s current “period of transformation and revival,” as Emerald executive vice president Karalynn Sprouse said in a statement. “The combination of Bulletin and NY Now not only provides us with a dynamic platform that delivers year-round discovery and engagement, but Alana, Ali and the Bulletin team’s thought leadership, forward-looking perspectives and extensive network of makers, designers, influencers and media will serve as new pathways of expression and creativity,” read the release.

As for Bulletin, Branston said in a statement that the merger offers the company with the opportunity to reinstate the stronger relationships between brands and buyers—an area that faltered during the pandemic. “We’re excited to rethink and revamp NY Now’s format, programming and positioning to guarantee an in-person show that puts those relationships front and center, underpinned by transactions and commerce at the event and year-round,” Branston said in the release. “It’s exactly what our customers have been asking for.”

Homepage image: Courtesy of NY Now

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