The Hut Group

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The Hut Group
Private
Industry Retail & Technology
Founded 2003 (2003)
Headquarters Northwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Area served
Worldwide
Products Various
Revenue £247.9 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
1000+[2]
Divisions Retail & Technology Services
Website www.thehutgroup.com

The Hut Group is a British electronic commerce company with headquarters in Northwich, Cheshire. Through multiple websites which it owns and operates, The Hut Group sells a variety of products including sports nutrition and vitamins, cycling and endurance, health and beauty, weight management, and clothing and accessories.

History[edit]

The company was established by Matthew Moulding, a chartered accountant, in 2003.[3]

Operations[edit]

The Hut Group launched its first website in 2004, focusing on lifestyle, health and beauty products. In addition, the group has other websites for product categories including fashion, entertainment and sports supplements. The Hut Group's current brands include The Hut, Zavvi, Coggles, Exante Diet, Myprotein, LookFantastic and Mankind.

Awards[edit]

In November 2008, the Hut Group won the Bank of Scotland North West Entrepreneur Challenge, with the prize of a £5 million interest free loan.[4] On 5 February 2009, the company was voted the United Kingdom's best entrepreneur after beating the other regional finalists.[5]

In September 2009 The Hut Group topped the Tech Track 100 list of fastest growing technology companies in the United Kingdom.[6] In 2007 and 2008 The Hut Group topped the table for North West England, whilst rising steadily through the national table.

In April 2013, Mybag.com, the Hut Group's footwear store won the Draper's Footwear and/or Accessories Etailer of the Year.[7]

In April 2014, The Hut Group, topped the Sunday Times Profit Track 100 list of Britain's private companies with the fastest growing profits.[8]

In April 2015, The Hut Group became the first company to top the Sunday Times Profit Track 100 list of Britain's private companies with the fastest growing profits for the second year running. Profits grew an average of 217% a year from £503,000 in 2011 to £16m in 2014.[9]

Ownership[edit]

Chaired by Richard Pennycook, the chief executive of the Co-operative Group, its investors include Sir Terry Leahy, the former Tesco chief executive, and Lord Rose, the chairman of Ocado and Britain Stronger in Europe. In 2014, the company sold a 19.2% stake to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, one of the world's leading private equity firms, while Balderton Capital, a technology investor, owns an identical stake.[10] BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager is also a shareholder and invested £138m in February 2016.[11]

Acquisition Strategy[edit]

On 24 December 2008, the entertainment retailer Zavvi entered into administration.[12] On 27 February 2009, The Hut Group acquired the Zavvi.co.uk online brand from administrators Ernst and Young for an undisclosed sum.[13] In January 2010, The Hut Group appointed Steven Whitehead to lead its acquisition initiatives. Whitehead was a former Assistant Director at Altium Capital.[14] In June 2011 The Hut Group acquired Myprotein.com from Oliver Cookson. Myprotein was advised by Altium Capital's[15] Simon Lord,[16] Andy Clarke [17] and Phil Frame.[18] The Hut Group later went on to litigate against Oliver Cookson claiming that the company's profits were significantly overstated during the sale process.[19]

Litigation[edit]

Oliver Cookson was involved in a long running case of litigation with The Hut Group over the sale of Myprotein in 2011. Cookson was sued for £15 million with The Hut Group claiming overestimation affected the valuation of the company when they bought it. Cookson counter sued for £12.7 million claiming a breach of warranty and fraudulent mis-representation. The matter went to the High Court in London in October 2014 and after a month-long trial judgement was given by William Blair in November 2014 giving Oliver Cookson an overall net result win of £6.5m in damages.[20][21]

At the costs hearing in December 2014, the judge awarded a payment of just under £7.5 million to be made by The Hut Group to Cookson and the Trust in respect of all of the claims and counterclaims in the action and one third of the costs incurred by Mr Cookson and the Trust.[22]

Oliver Cookson and the Trust have been successful in gaining permission to appeal the courts decision to award The Hut Groups damages, with the appeal to be heard in February 2016.[23] The court of appeal dismissed the appeal on the 22 March 2016.[24]

Oliver Cookson and his off-shore trust did not contest the High Court's findings that they had overstated Myprotein's profits; rather, the appeal focused on a very narrow technical issue, that the Hut Group was time-barred from bringing its claim.[25] Oliver Cookson was advised by Altium Capital on the sale of Myprotein.com to The Hut Group.[26] Altium Capital has also advised The Hut Group on various pre Initial public offering fundraisings in April 2010.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Annual Returns up to end of 2014". Companies House. 
  2. ^ "The Hut Group Linkedin". The Hut Group. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  3. ^ "Profile: Matthew Moulding, founder and chief executive, The Hut". Retail Week. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Hut Group wins North West final of Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Challenge". The Hut Group. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  5. ^ "The Hut Group voted Britain’s best entrepreneur". The Hut Group. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  6. ^ "Tech Track 100 league table 2009". Fast Track. 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2009-09-23. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Draper's Footwear and/or Accessories Etailer of the Year 2013". Drapers. 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  8. ^ "Fasttrack 2014" (PDF). 
  9. ^ "Fasttrack 2015" (PDF). 
  10. ^ "Hut Group Grows Beauty Arm With Canadian Deal". Sky News. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Hut Group secures extra funding as sales and profits jump". Retail Week. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "Zavvi placed into administration". BBC Online (BBC News). 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  13. ^ "The Hut swoops for Zavvi.co.uk". MCV. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  14. ^ "Steven Whitehead". 
  15. ^ "Myprotein's Advisers". 
  16. ^ "Simon Lord". 
  17. ^ "Andy Clarke". 
  18. ^ "Phil Frame". 
  19. ^ "Annual Returns up to end of 2015 (Note 4)". Companies House. 
  20. ^ “The judgment by The Hon Mr Justice Blair - The Hut Group Ltd v Cookson”, England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions, 20th November 2014.
  21. ^ “Business Desk article - 21st November 2014.
  22. ^ “Costs awarded in The Hut Group vs Oliver Cookson & Barclays Private Bank & Trust Ltd - Press Release by DWF.
  23. ^ "Permission to appeal granted in High Court case between The Hut Group Ltd and Oliver Cookson and others". DWF.LAW. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Deals/Restructuring / Deals List / The Hut sucessfully defends court appeal by Cookson - TheBusinessDesk.com". Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "Annual Returns up to end of 2015". Companies House. 
  26. ^ "Myprotein". Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  27. ^ "The Hut Group Ltd". Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "The Hut Group Ltd". Altium Capital. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 

External links[edit]