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Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Announces Acquisition of Outward, Inc.


Transaction Will Enable WSI to Extend Its High-Touch Customer Service Platform and Further Transform the Shopping Experience for Home Furnishings with Digital Technology

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) and Outward, Inc. (“Outward”) announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (“WSI”) will acquire Outward, a leading 3-D imaging and augmented reality platform for the home furnishings and décor industry, for an all cash consideration of $112 million. This strategic acquisition will enable WSI to enhance and extend its high-touch customer service platform, and to develop technologies with Outward that further transform the shopping experience for home furnishings.

“Outward brings proprietary and transformative technology at the forefront of our industry, and we welcome them to WSI,” said Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer of WSI. “We are excited to own and collaborate in the further development of Outward’s technology that enables applications in product visualization, digital room design, and augmented and virtual reality. Together, we will drive digital innovation to create highly engaging and interactive consumer shopping experiences.”

“Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a best-in-class retailer with a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience, as well as an industry leading multi-channel platform,” said Clarence Chui, President and Founder of Outward. “Joining the WSI team presents us with a unique opportunity to extend our leadership at the intersection of imaging technology and retail, and allows us to strengthen our support of existing customers and the entire home industry. We look forward to partnering with WSI to create the next generation of online, in-store, and design service experiences and execute on our shared belief that technology and innovation drive business.”

Following the close of the transaction, which is expected by the end of this calendar year, Outward will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of WSI, and will be managed by Outward’s current leadership team. The company will maintain existing operations under the Outward brand, while expanding its digital capabilities and servicing its customers around the world. Clarence Chui will remain as President and Founder, and Outward’s headquarters will remain in San Jose, CA.

About Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high-quality products for the home. These products, representing eight distinct merchandise strategies – Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm, PBteen, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham – are marketed through e-commerce websites, direct mail catalogs and retail stores. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. currently operates in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, offers international shipping to customers worldwide, and has unaffiliated franchises that operate stores in the Middle East, the Philippines and South Korea, and stores and e-commerce websites in Mexico.

About Outward, Inc.

Founded in 2012, Outward, Inc. is a San Jose, CA-based enterprise technology company focused on serving the home furnishings and decorative accessories industry. Outward provides visual merchandising that supports the scale and diversity of products offered by customer brands, as well as flexibility in enabling a breadth of digital experiences tailored to support all stages of a brand's merchandising throughout its sales chain.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they do not fully materialize or prove incorrect, could cause WSI’s results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements relating to WSI’s anticipated acquisition of Outward, including the timing of closing the transaction, the anticipated benefits to WSI’s platform and business, the anticipated benefits to Outward’s customers, the future management of Outward, and the further development of Outward’s technology. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties. The risks and uncertainties that could cause WSI’s results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include the risks that: the acquisition may not close in a timely manner or at all; WSI may be unable to achieve the anticipated benefits of the transaction; initiatives with Outward may distract management from other operations; Outward’s technology may not work as anticipated; Outward may be impacted by current or future competition in the industry, including unexpected advances in competing products or technologies; and customer loss and business disruption (including, without limitation, difficulties in maintaining relationships with employees, customers, and suppliers) may be greater than expected. These and other risks and uncertainties are described more fully in WSI’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 29, 2017, all subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available as of the date hereof, and WSI assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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