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The Hut Group confirms London's first major flotation since COVID-19 struck

Lauretta Roberts
03 September 2020

The Hut Group, the online beauty, fashion and lifestyle retailer, has confirmed plans for a £4.5 billion stock market listing in what will be London’s first major flotation since the coronavirus crisis struck.

The Manchester-based business, whose brands include Lookfantastic, Coggles, GlossyBox and ESPA said it would look to raise around £920 million through a share offering of around 20% of its stock, valuing the group at £4.5 billion.

Shares are expected to start trading later this month and BlackRock, Henderson Global Investors and funds managed by Merian Global Investors and the Qatar Investment Authority have already agreed to buy £565 million of shares on offer.

The flotation is set to be the biggest listing of a UK firm since 2013 and will tap into surging investor appetite for online retailing amid the pandemic.

It will also be one of the first big floats in London after the coronavirus pandemic halted the recovering initial public offering (IPO) market.

The Hut Group (THG), founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Matthew Moulding, has rapidly expanded as shoppers increasingly turn online for health and lifestyle brands, with around 7,000 staff now employed at its Manchester HQ.

The Hut Group

The Hut Group Manchester HQ

THG owns a variety of its own beauty brands – many of which it has acquired in recent years – including Illamasqua, Eyeko and MyProtein, but sells third-party brands through e-commerce sites it operates, such as Glossybox and Lookfantastic. It also operates e-commerce operations for third party brands, such as By Terry and Nuxe, through its THG Ingenuity division.

In 2019, the company saw revenues jump by 24.5% year-on-year to £1.1 billion, with adjusted earnings before tax and interest of £111.3 million.

It told potential investors that its growth has accelerated recently as it saw revenues increase by 35.8% to £676 million for the six months to 30 June.

Bosses at the group said the IPO will boost the firm’s growth plans by increasing its public profile and brand awareness.

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