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Candy Ventures in early stages of exploring a bid for THG

Lauretta Roberts
20 May 2022

Candy Ventures, the investment firm of property tycoon Nick Candy (pictured above), is in the early stages of exploring a bid for online beauty plc THG.

News of Candy Ventures interest in the group comes after the group, which owns platforms such as Cult Beauty and Lookfantastic as well as a number of health and beauty brands, confirmed it had rejected an unsolicited £2bn bid from the Belerion Consortium, comprising Belerion Capital Group together with King Street Capital Management.

THG said it had concluded that Belerion Consortium's bid had "significantly undervalued the Company and its future prospects" and its board had unanimously rejected the offer.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that Candy Ventures is in the early stages of considering a bid. The investment firm is exploring whether to make an offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company. It has until 5pm on 16 June to make its intentions clear and THG has pointed out there can be no certainty an offer would be made.

The latest offers follow on from THG's confirmation at its AGM that it had received a number of unacceptable offers for the group, which was floated in a £1.88 billion IPO in September 2020. Since then it has had a tumultuous time with its founder Matthew Moulding admitting at a conference staged by men's magazine GQ that he would not float the business in London again if he had the chance, and analysts suggesting the business had overstated the value of its e-commerce platform THG Ingenuity.

Moulding's position as both chairman and CEO has also been challenged by shareholders as well as his holding of a "golden share" that allows him to veto an offers he deems unacceptable. Moulding has pledged to address any governance issues in the business.

Moulding founded the Manchester-based business in 2004 initially selling CDs online. The group now runs more than 100 websites selling beauty, nutrition and fashion product across the globe. Its Ingenuity platform is used to power the e-commerce businesses of third-party brands.

At the time of the group's £1.88 billion IPO in 2020, the group had a market capitalisation of £5.4 billion. But since a peak trading price of 800p, shares have tumbled to around 116p.

Candy has mostly made his fortune in high end property development, most notably One Hyde Park in Kensington, which he developed brother Christian and at the time was the world's most expensive property development. He also has investments in the tech sector, such as the podcast producer Audioboom, and was one of the investors in collapsed British couture fashion brand Ralph & Russo. Most recently he was linked to a potential bid for Chelsea Football Club.

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