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THG shares under pressure after suitors walk away

Lauretta Roberts
16 June 2022

Shares in THG have slumped after a pair of suitors walked away from placing potential bids for the listed online beauty giant.

Shares in THG, previously known as The Hut Group, tumbled by 13% on Thursday morning after Belerion Capital Group said it no longer planned to make an offer.

Hours later, the company’s stock slid even further after British property developer Nick Candy confirmed that he will also not be making a bid. Candy's Candy Ventures was confirmed it was investigating the possibility of a bid last month.

THG, which owns etailers including Lookfantastic and Cult Beauty along with a host of beauty and wellness brands, revealed last month that it had rejected a £2.1 billion approach from a consortium led by Belerion and King Street Capital Management.

THG said separately on Thursday that it had rejected all recent approaches as they “significantly undervalued” the firm and had not opened its books to any of the suitors.

It said: “All recent approaches for THG have been unsolicited and, in the unanimous opinion of the board, were unacceptable and significantly undervalued the company.

“After consulting with THG’s major shareholders and taking advice from the company’s advisers, the board has not considered it appropriate to provide due diligence access to any of these parties.”

The group added that it is “clearly aware” of wider economic challenges, but insisted it continues to trade well and in line with its expectations.

However, these expectations were cut in April, when it said it expected underlying profits for the current year to be in line with 2021, representing a downgrade from analyst expectations due to soaring inflation.

Potential bidders for the group have until 4pm today (Thursday 16 June) to make a formal offer for THG or walk away under UK Takeover Panel rules.

THG has faced speculation that it could be taken private after seeing a dive in its value following its 2020 stock market float.

Last year, the Manchester-based business saw more than £2 billion knocked off its stock market value after it faced criticism over its governance structure and future prospects with analysts questioning the value of its THG Ingenuity platform, which powers the e-commerce businesses of third-party brands.

In March, it hired former ITV boss Charles Allen as its non-executive chairman as part of efforts to improve its corporate governance.

Founder and boss Matthew Moulding had previously held the dual roles of chairman and CEO, which contravenes corporate governance guidelines.

At the time of writing (16 June) shares were down more than 23% at 80p per share. At the time of THG's float in September 2020, shares were offered at 500p and rose to as much as 658p on the first day of trading. At the time it was the biggest stock market debut since 2013.

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