Wayfair moves comms inside amid IPO-prep reports

Wayfair's comms department is handling all PR for the company amid reports of a planned IPO. The home-furnishings e-commerce brand brought all communications in-house in the fourth quarter of last year.

BOSTON: Wayfair’s comms department is handling all PR for the company amid reports of a planned IPO. The home-furnishings e-commerce brand brought all communications in-house in the fourth quarter of last year.

Wayfair moved its entire PR function to its internal team in October, said Jane Carpenter, head of PR at the company. She said she was unable to comment on reports of the company’s impending IPO.

"We have no plans to look externally for a PR firm," she said.

Last March, Wayfair selected Shift Communications as AOR for its flagship brand and its private home décor sale business Joss & Main, but the firm’s work ended on October 1.

"I was building my team internally and thought Shift would be a great partner for that interim period; they were aware of our plans all along," said Carpenter.

Julie Staadecker, senior account manager at Shift Communications, said the companies' relationship ended amicably.

"They wanted to have comms in-house; their decision to go in-house was nothing to do with Shift," said Staadecker, regarding the contract's end.

Prior to Shift, Wayfair brought on Lippe Taylor as its first consumer agency partner, but the firm did not work on the Joss & Main brand. Carpenter said Wayfair no longer works with Lippe Taylor and Lewis PR, which was Wayfair's AOR for business and tech support.

Wayfair raised $157 million from a group that includes T. Rowe Price and other financial institutions, giving the company a valuation of more than $2 billion in the months leading up to a likely IPO, according to Re/code.

Last October, former Warner Music Group vice chairman Michael Fleisher stepped into the CFO role at Wayfair. Previously, he served as chairman and CEO of technology research group Gartner, where he led the company’s IPO and its move to the New York Stock Exchange.

The previous CFO, Nicholas Malone, remains at Wayfair as chief administration officer.

Wayfair has reportedly rounded up banks including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Allen & Co. to handle the IPO since Fleisher’s appointment.

Wayfair reported an annual growth rate of 55% in 2013 to end the year with $915 million in revenue. 

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