Target Agrees to Acquire CHEFS Catalog and Cooking.com

Target announced separate agreements March 14 to acquire CHEFS Catalog and assets of Cooking.com The company said in a press release that the acquisitions are aimed at expanding Target’s ecommerce presence in the cooking and kitchenware market.

Following the closings, the two businesses will be combined to create a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Target. Both brands will continue to operate under their current names. Target said it believes these transactions present a strategic growth opportunity; however, there will not be any meaningful financial impact to Target’s 2013 results.

“We are excited to bring CHEFS and Cooking.com into the Target family,” said. “We know consumers are increasingly looking online for cooking solutions to make their lives easier – from utensils and cookware, to recipes. These strategic transactions provide us a great way to address this growing opportunity and will offer expanded online options for our guests.”

Tim Littleton, president and CEO of CHEFS, will be president of the wholly owned subsidiary and will report to Casey Carl, president of multichannel and senior vice president, enterprise strategy, at Target.

Tracy Randall, CEO and co-founder of Cooking.com, will become a consultant to Target.

“We’re delighted to be a part of the Target organization,” said Mr. Littleton. “CHEFS has grown and thrived online by offering a well-edited selection of leading kitchen tools, gadgets and accessories. Combined with Cooking.com and their strong Powered By partnerships, their vast array of recipes and user-driven product ratings and reviews, we believe we’re well-positioned to provide an even richer online experience for our collective customers.”

Both transactions are expected to close within 30 days. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Sales at Target grew 5.1% in the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, but the merchant did not have a strong holiday season. Its sales of $10.2 billion in December were relatively flat to the $10.1 billion it did the same month in 2011.

Target is no stranger to acquiring niche direct-to-customer companies. In 2012, it acquired outdoor furniture and gardening supplies seller Smith & Hawken from The Scotts Co., and now sells its products online and in stores.

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