(Reuters) - Merger and acquisition dealmakers make their livings advising companies on mergers, sales and spinoffs. But this time, investment bankers at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) are working on an internal deal of their own.
JPMorgan is creating a joint venture between its consumer and retail, and internet teams, according to an internal memo sent to employees on Thursday and seen by Reuters.
It will be called the disruptive commerce group, and be led by internet banker Chris Grose and retail banker Jill Woodworth.
The memo, signed by Erik Oken, global head of consumer and retail investment banking and Madhu Namburi, head of technology investment banking in North America, was confirmed by a JPMorgan spokeswoman.
The move comes as large, traditional retailers, facing slow growth and shrinking market share, ramp up their digital investments. This includes recent deals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s (WMT.N) acquisitions of Jet.com, ModCloth and Bonobos; PetSmart’s acquisition of online pet store Chewy; and Target Corp’s (TGT.N) investment in mattress company Casper.
U.S. retail companies spent $17 billion in 2016 acquiring e-commerce companies in 2016, up 63 percent from $10.4 billion in 2012, according to PitchBook Data.
This convergence of retail and technology companies has made establishing traditional sector lines fuzzier for bankers.
For example, Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) recent acquisition of grocery store Whole Foods Market Inc has moved the online retailer closer to traditional brick-and-mortar.
And Peloton, which sells an internet-connected indoor fitness bike, toes the line between whether it might be served by consumer or internet bankers.
These types of companies have been covered by both the consumer & retail and internet teams at JPMorgan in the past, but the creation of the new team formalizes this process.
It was not clear how a revenue split might work between the two groups through the joint venture.
Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum