Body Shop and Softbank announce joint venture

The Body Shop Digital will develop The Body Shop's e-commerce activities and global Internet presence.

The Body Shop will own 59% of the new company, with Softbank Venture Capital investing $15m (E16.3m) for an effective 24% equity share (held initially in the form of preferred stock with conversion rights).

The remaining equity will be divided between staff and Body Shop franchises.

Softbank's $15m cash investment will cover start-up expenses for The Body Shop Digital, which hold the exclusive rights to develop The Body Shop brand on-line.

There are also plans to extend the brand into a variety of related Internet sites and businesses that are complementary in theme and demographics.

The joint venture will initially focus on the US market, before launching into the UK in the first half of 2001.