Economy

Michael Otto about Jeff Bezos: “He was also very lucky”

Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Otto Group

Froese / ullstein picture via Getty Images

Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Otto Group, stated in an interview with RTL / ntv that he had the opportunity to participate in Amazon early on. Jeff Bezos, founder of the online mail order company, was urgently looking for funds at the time. There would have been $ 100 million as a participation sum in the room.

The former CEO of Otto, however, had doubts about the profitability of Bezo’s business model. In particular, the concept of selling media such as CDs, DVDs and books online and delivering them without cost sharing did not seem profitable to him, Otto told RTL / ntv. He was of the opinion “that it has no chance of ever making profits. And that’s why I didn’t do that back then. “

Amazon with $ 96.15 billion in sales in the third quarter of 2020 – Otto: Bezos “was also very lucky”

Otto should now regret this decision. Not only is Jeff Bezos, with his estimated fortune of around 200 billion US dollars, one of the two richest people in the world – only recently overtaken by Tesla boss Elon Musk. Rather, Amazon, fueled by the growth that the entire online trade was able to record in the wake of the corona pandemic, also achieved record sales in the crisis year. The online giant posted sales of $ 96.15 billion in the third quarter of 2020 alone, up 37 percent from last year’s figures. In 2019, the company generated annual sales of an impressive 280 billion US dollars.

The Otto Group, on the other hand, achieved a comparatively low turnover of 14.26 million euros for the entire 2019/20 financial year. In the interview, Michael Otto is calm about the missed opportunity and insists on the correctness of his original prognoses: “I was right in this respect with the area (ie CDs, DVDs, books, note d. Red.) Bezos is still losing today. “Of course, Bezos has changed his concept in the meantime, but Otto could not have foreseen this. The entrepreneur says of Bezos: “He is capable, but was also very lucky.”

Otto: Market shakeout in retail – home office as an opportunity for city centers

The former CEO of the Otto Group also discussed the consequences of the corona crisis for retailers in an interview. “There will certainly be a shakeout,” he is quoted as saying. According to Otto, weaker companies would not have survived long even without the crisis and would be the first to disappear. “But there will also be an acceleration and a tightening due to Corona.” Despite these difficulties for retailers, he basically praised the German government’s Corona policy. His only criticisms are the unnecessary complexity of the measures and the sometimes slow disbursement of financial aid.

Overall, however, the crisis also offers opportunities to redesign the interior, according to Otto. These should no longer be monotonous, but needed a lively “healthy mix” of local retailers, large sellers and cultural offerings. To do this, however, they would have to be made more habitable again, which would be possible by normalizing the home office: “Because we will certainly no longer need the office space as before, even after Corona (…). And the office space that is freed up should be converted into living space. “

sb with material from RTL / ntv

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