Plus, hiring news from Target, Wayfair and Claire's and beauty retailer Kopari raises funds.

Performance marketing company Merkle, owned by Dentsu Aegis Network, acquired a majority stake in data and analytics company Ugam for an undisclosed amount.

Co-founder and CEO Sunil Mirani will continue to lead Ugam, however, Ugam will be renamed to Ugam, a Merkle Company. Mirani will report to Craig Dempster, president of Merkle Americas. Ugam’s analytics and digital solutions include retail analytics, survey analytics, technology implementation, data engineering and digital product content solutions.

“Ugam is vital to the execution of Merkle’s multi-year analytics strategy of creating a… shared analytics service across Dentsu Aegis Network,” Dempster said. “With its experienced management team, highly educated workforce, scale and vertical market expertise, Ugam will bring high-end analytics capabilities, along with a broad spectrum of analytical decision support.”

Merkle handles search engine marketing services for 26 retailers in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000, such as Nordstrom Inc. (No. 18), 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (No. 78) and Urban Outfitters Inc. (No. 46).

In other ecommerce news:

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  • Claire’s Stores (No. 635) hired Ryan Vero as CEO. Vero comes from Party City Holdings (No. 328), where he was president, and takes over for interim Claire’s CEO Kevin Corning, who served in the role since March. Previously, Vero worked as president of grocery and drugstore for Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 38) for four years and executive vice president and chief merchandising/marketing officer at Office Max for six years.
  • Target Corp. (No. 16) hired Hari Govind as senior vice president of infrastructure and operations for the retailer’s technology team, where he will oversee cloud-and-compute capabilities, network connectivity and operations for Target’s stores, digital channels, distribution centers and office locations. Before Target, Govind worked at social media platform Facebook as group manager for the infrastructure team.
  • Beauty e-retailer Kopari Beauty raised $20 million in a Series A funding round from the Growth Fund of L Catterton and Unilever Ventures. The beauty retailer plans to use the funding for product research and development with its key coconut ingredient, as well as focus on international expansion and its ecommerce platform. “The continued investment from such formidable firms demonstrates our sustained category dominance and successful market integration with our hero ingredient to reach a wide, and still growing, consumer set,” said Bryce Goldman, CEO and co-founder of Kopari.
  • Home goods retailer Wayfair Inc. (No. 12) announced two retirees in 2019: James Savarese, its chief operating officer, and John Mulliken, its chief technology officer. Both Savarese and Mulliken worked at the retailer for more than a decade. “They helped make Wayfair the global ecommerce leader it is today,” said Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman of Wayfair. “They leave behind strong teams and have well positioned Wayfair for continued success. We are appreciative of their commitment to a smooth transition over the coming months and wish both James and John the very best.” With their impending departures, Thomas Netzer, current chief operating officer of Wayfair’s European operations, will succeed Savarese. Netzer will relocate from Wayfair’s Berlin office to its Boston headquarters this summer. Additionally, Allan Lyall will take on the new role of chief global supply chain officer.
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