The Hut Group receives private funding, plans expansion
The Hut Group, the British multiwebsite e-tailer whose websites include Zavvi, all Sole and Coggles, has received private funding of "at least" $200m for acquisitions, The Financial Times has reported.
Sources told the FT that among the backers are US fund group BlackRock, Belgian investment company Sofina, and an unnamed Chinese fund, and that all are willing to support transactions in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
90% of The Hut's sales are in the health and beauty categories and the company is now looking to expand in those markets. Though bankers had been expecting The Hut to float on the stock market, CEO Matthew Moulding said since there is no shortage of private money available, a float isn't on the cards. “We are searching for massive complementary deals in the health and beauty sector. We would issue equity in that situation,” he said.
“Shareholders in the main would always prefer to be a listed business: valuations are higher, liquidity is high,” he said. “My job is to always do the best for the business. What is best for shareholders is that this business performs to the best of its ability.”
He also told the FT that The Hut generated enough money for investment and that when it does float it means to do so “as a big business, not a small-cap”.
The Hut's turnover rose from £248m to £335 in 2015 and like-for-like sales were up 34%. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, excluding exceptional items, rose to £30m from £23m the year before.
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