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Filed under:'s Fire Sale Should Close This Month

The sale will mark the end to one of the most bizarre recent stories in the venture-backed startup world.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox., the online design retailer that, for the blink of an eye, looked like it could someday develop into the Ikea for a new generation, is expected to complete a fire sale of its assets by the end of this month, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Re/code reported in November that Fab was in talks to sell to a manufacturing company called PCH International for $7 million in cash and about $8 million in stock, based on PCH’s most recent financing round. Now, barring unforeseen setbacks, a source says the sale to PCH is on track to close within the next two to three weeks.

The sale will mark the end to one of the most bizarre recent stories in the venture-backed startup world. Fab burst onto the scene in 2011 with a flash-sale site that sold an eclectic collection of brightly colored furniture and decor tightly curated by co-founder Bradford Shellhammer. (Shellhammer eventually left Fab and is launching a site called Bezar that looks like Fab 2.0.) Fab saw huge growth in 2012 and then raised $150 million in 2013, pushing its total funding over $300 million.

But inside Fab, the wheels had already started to come off. The company’s marketing spending was out of control, contributing to a cash burn that wasn’t sustainable. The site also rapidly expanded its selection, diluting the unique design aesthetic it was known for and turning off early customers who had fallen in love with the original vision. Between the summer of 2013 and the spring of 2014, Fab laid off around 80 percent of the company.

Fab co-founder Jason Goldberg then turned his attention — with the help of tens of millions of dollars investors’ money still in the bank — to a new site called Hem, which is selling custom furniture that has a Nordic feel and often can be assembled without tools. Hem is now finalizing an acquisition of an Italian furniture company called Discipline, according to a source, and as TechCrunch first reported.

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