The Otto group, or Otto (GmbH & Co KG) (formerly Otto Versand), is traditionally the world's largest mail order company and currently one of the biggest e-commerce companies, mainly based in Germany and France but operating in more than 20 countries. Although Otto itself is a B2C e-commerce company, as shareholder it is also operating big in e-commerce services as well. In France it claims to be leading with 3 Suisses which is owned for 51% by Otto. In June 2013 Otto did a full takeover to become its only shareholder.
The family of executive board chairman Michael Otto owns the majority of the company. The company is based in Hamburg, Germany; it was founded by Werner Otto in 1950. The first, hand produced, catalog offered 28 styles of shoes. During the 1950s the range and the business expands rapidly. Otto introduced telephone orders in 1963 and went online in 1995.
Michael Otto was the former owner of Spiegel, Inc., (the parent company of Eddie Bauer and former owners of Spiegel catalog), which filed for bankruptcy on March 17, 2003. On May 25, 2005, Spiegel, Inc., emerged from bankruptcy renamed Eddie Bauer Holdings and was primarily owned by Commerzbank.