Will the supply chain have to be remade for a COVID vaccine?

You know Supreme. It’s the streetwear brand that’s gained a cult following.

On Monday, 121-year-old apparel maker VF Corp. announced plans to acquire the business for $2.1 billion in cash—triggering questions about whether this was the start of the end for the brand. 

Founded in 1994 as a skateboard shop, Supreme is something of a marvel: It caught on to a wave of interest in streetwear, and managed to appeal to both mid-market and luxury shoppers by creating a sense of scarcity. Customers seeking its limited releases of sneakers or shirts are known for lining up around blocks at its 12 stores.

So can VF keep up or is this an ill-fated acquisition? Well, VF’s past track record has actually been pretty good, per my colleague Phil Wahba. VF’s portfolio also includes the likes of sneakers brand Vans as well as The North Face and Timberland.

“VF’s secret sauce with acquisitions has long been to keep brands’ management and identity separate from other labels in its portfolio rather than chase illusory synergies,” Phil writes. 

“In addition, at a time when many top brands are eschewing the wholesale channel in favor of their own stores and website, Supreme gets more than 60{58a1dc6c0ae79131d70da91f0509185830ba20bd66fa98bb163bf48fbf8fcb62} of its revenue by selling directly to customers, a key M&A criteria for VF in recent years and something VF wants to see its other brands do more of too.”

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THE FUTURE OF STAY-AT-HOME COMPANIES: Yesterday, the markets turned on its head when Pfizer said its coronavirus vaccine was 90{58a1dc6c0ae79131d70da91f0509185830ba20bd66fa98bb163bf48fbf8fcb62} effective based on early data. So-called stay-at-home stocks like Zoom and Snowflake took a dip as the possibility of returning to normal arose.

So what happens to companies that have raised large amounts amid a surge in the stay-at-home trend? The question really comes down to which trends have staying power.

Here’s a notable round announced Tuesday, meaning the deal likely came together before Pfizer’s announcement: Hopin, a virtual events provider (that Fortune also uses), raised $125 million in Series B funding. IVP led the round and was joined by investors including Tiger Global, Coatue, DFJ Growth, Accel, Northzone, Salesforce Ventures, and Seedcamp.

The company says it’s experienced massive growth since the start of the pandemic, going from 5,000 registered users to 3.5 million users in the past eight months.

While I am feeling the fatigue of virtual-only conferences, its investors are betting that events in a post-pandemic world will have a hybrid model.

“Virtual events are here to stay.  They often are better attended, have higher-quality speakers, and drive more efficient attendee networking,” says IVP General Partner Jules Maltz via email.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: [email protected]

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