Westfield tech spin-off OneMarket to be wound up

The board at technology company, OneMarket, has decided to proceed with an “orderly winding-up” of the business.

OneMarket came into existence in 2018 when it was spun out of Westfield as the commercial property group was acquired by Unibail Rodamco. It promised physical retailers using its technology data-led solutions to help them compete with Amazon.

Steven Lowy, the former CEO of Westfield and son of the property company’s co-founder Frank Lowy, is chairman of OneMarket. The business started life with Don Kingsborough as CEO, but he stepped down last December due to health reasons and was replaced by Joe Polverari.

The first year of life listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has proved tumultuous, with OneMarket also losing key customer Nordstrom, and burning through over $50 million in the last year alone. In March, however, it said it was building a pipeline of new clients.

At the organisation’s annual general meeting in August, a strategic review of operations was announced where “the full range of options that could enhance value for shareholders” were assessed. These included the sale of OneMarket’s assets, and the introduction of a new business partner or equity investor.

Banking group Rothschild & Co assisted the process and has provided advice to the board during the last month. Although several parties expressed an interest in acquiring the business, they have not matched shareholders’ valuation and a wind-up process has now started.

“That decision has been a difficult one but, having carefully weighed the alternatives and assessed the attendant risks, the OneMarket board believes that this is the right decision to make in the circumstances,” Simon Tuxen, company secretary, said in a letter to the ASX overnight.

“At this stage, it is anticipated that a number of shareholder approvals will be required. The current intention is that the notice of meeting for the necessary meeting will be prepared and dispatched during the next four weeks. If shareholders approve proceeding with the winding up, OneMarket would also seek to be de-listed from the ASX.”

The board has proposed that OneMarket assets be distributed to its shareholders, but has not ruled out a sale of the business at this late stage.