The Hut Group

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The Hut Group
Private
Industry Retail & Technology
Founded 2004 (2004)
Founders
  • Matthew Moulding
  • John Gallemore
Headquarters Northwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products Various
Revenue £501 million (2016)[1]
Number of employees
3000+[2]
Divisions Retail & Technology Services
Website www.thehutgroup.com

The Hut Group (also known as "THG") is a British e-commerce company with headquarters in Northwich, Cheshire. It operates over 100 international websites selling Fast-moving consumer goods ("FMCG") direct to consumer through its proprietary technology and operating platform. As of 2015, The Hut Group's sales have predominantly been outside the UK.[3]

The Hut Group is regarded as a European technology unicorn (private company valued at over $1 billion).[4] In 2017 it was valued at more than £2.5bn making it one of the most valuable private companies in the United Kingdom.[5][6]

History[edit]

The Hut Group was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore, when Matthew bought a CD online at a price much cheaper than in store and realised the disruptive potential of online retail. Matthew launched the company with a £500,000 investment and a focus on entertainment products such as Music and Gaming.[7][8]

In order to build up revenues and profitability, The Hut Group used its proprietary technology platform as a whitelabel solution for large physical retailers who wanted to go online. This included ASDA, Argos Entertainment, Tesco and WHSmith.[9][10]

Locations[edit]

The Hut Group's main headquarters is in Gadbrook Park, Cheshire. Part of the Northern Powerhouse, it is one of 20 tech British-based unicorns as of 2016.[11]

Ownership[edit]

Chaired by Richard Pennycook, formerly 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. In 2014, the company sold a 19.2% stake to KKR, while Balderton Capital, a technology investor, owns an identical stake.[12] BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager is also a shareholder and invested £138m in February 2016.[13]

In May 2016, Sofina announced an undisclosed equity stake in The Hut Group.[14]

In August 2017, Sky News leaked that Old Mutual Global Investors had made their first private equity investment in The Hut Group.[15][16]

Acquisitions[edit]

The Hut Group has pursued an acquisition strategy of mainly taking full ownership of E-Commerce businesses in a variety of retail sectors and putting the websites onto its proprietary technology platform. In 2016, the group made its first ever physical retail acquisition with the purchase of Hale Country Club & Spa.[17]

Acquisition Year Company Description Ref.
Zavvi 2009 The Hut Group's first acquisition was of Zavvi, an online entertainment business that had gone into Administration in 2008. [18][19]
IWOOT - I Want One of Those 2010 The Hut Group bought IWOOT (IWantOneOfThose.com) from Findel Group as well as Confetti, a wedding accessories retailer. [20]
Lookfantastic.com 2010 The Hut Group bought Lookfantastic group from the Crown family in November 2010. The business sells premium beauty skincare and haircare and operates beauty salons across the United Kingdom. [21]
Mankind Direct 2010 The Hut Group bought Mankind Direct weeks after purchasing Lookfantastic Group. Mankind is a male-focused online grooming retailer. At the time, it reported £5M annual sales. [22]
HQHair 2011 The Hut Group bought HQ Hair out of administration in 2011. [23]
Myprotein 2011 The Hut Group bought Myprotein in 2011. The deal estimated at £60M at the time of the announcement. [24]
Coggles 2013 The Hut Group picked up luxury fashion retailer Coggles from Administration. Originally a predominantly physical retailer based in York, it operated solely online until December 2017 when the company launched a new flagship store in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.[25] [26]
Active Nutrition International 2014 The Hut Group bought Finnish online sports nutrition retailer Active Nutrition International in 2014. [27]
Preloved 2014 The Hut Group acquired online secondhand marketplace, Preloved from its founder Ian Buzer in 2004. The marketplace and community was started in 1998 and is one of the largest in the UK with over 6 million members. [28][29]
Skinstore 2016 The Hut Group acquired US and Australian Beauty Retailer, Skinstore, from Walgreens Boots Alliance in 2016. The retailer is one of the leading online-only beauty retailers in USA (Skinstore.com) and Australia (Skincarestore.com).[30] [31]
IdealShape 2016 The Hut Group acquired IdealShape, a US-based dieting and nutrition brand based out of American Fork, Utah. [32]
Hangar Seven 2017 The Hut Group acquired H7, a leading UK-based content producer focused on video and photographic content for the brand and retail industry. Hangar Seven had studios in London, Leeds, Macclesfield and in Portugal. [33]
UK2 2017 The Hut Group acquired UK2 Group, a web hosting firm with data centres around the world. UK2 was part-owned by LDC, the banking division of Lloyds Banking Group since 2011. [34]
RY.com.au 2017 The Hut Group acquired RY.com.au, an Australian beauty online retailer. RY, which stands for 'Recreate Yourself', was established by James Patten and Brad Carr in 2005. [35]
Glossybox 2017 The Hut Group acquired European provider of beauty box subscription services, GLOSSYBOX, from fellow investment companies Rocket Internet and Kinnevik Online. [36]
ESPA 2017 The Hut Group acquired ESPA, which is based in the UK. ESPA has a presence in more than 700 spas in 60 countries. [37]
Illamasqua 2017 The Hut Group acquired Illamasqua, a British make-up brand. Illamasqua was founded in 2006 by Julian Kynaston. [38]

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.[39][40]

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.[41]

Oliver Cookson and the Trust appealed the court's decision to award The Hut Groups damages.[42] The court of appeal dismissed the appeal on 22 March 2016.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Annual Returns up to end of 2016". Companies House. 
  2. ^ "The Hut Group 2016 Annual Reports". The Hut Group. Retrieved 2018-01-23. 
  3. ^ Hardy, Emily (19 April 2016). "The Hut Group profits jump 33% as international sales soar". 
  4. ^ Bishop, Katrina (2014-10-21). "Are these the next billion-dollar tech 'unicorns'?". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-04-12. 
  5. ^ "Hut Group hits £2.5bn valuation with £125m Old Mutual investment". 
  6. ^ "The North's fastest growing tech companies". 
  7. ^ "History of The Hut Group". 
  8. ^ "Profile: Matthew Moulding". 
  9. ^ "Profile: Matthew Moulding". 
  10. ^ "The Hut Group buys collapsed beauty site". 
  11. ^ Rolet, Xavier (5 July 2016). "Britain will retain its golden spirit of enterprise if we keep backing entrepreneurs". Retrieved 10 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Hut Group Grows Beauty Arm With Canadian Deal". Sky News. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "The Hut Group secures extra funding as sales and profits jump". Retail Week. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Hut Group lands £138m investment". Drapers online. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  15. ^ "The Hut Group 'to sell £125m stake' which could see the company valued at £2.5bn". Manchester Evening News. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  16. ^ "Hut Group hits £2.5Bn valuation with £125M Old Mutual Investment". Sky News Online. 13 August 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "Hale and The Hut Group | Hale Country Club & Spa". www.halecountryclub.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  18. ^ "Zavvi placed into administration". BBC Online. BBC News. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  19. ^ "The Hut swoops for Zavvi.co.uk". MCV. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  20. ^ "The Hut Group makes double acquisition". Growth Business. 2010-08-12. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  21. ^ "The Hut Group buys Lookfantastic.com in £19.4m deal". Retail Week. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  22. ^ "Mankind Direct acquired by The Hut Group". MEN. 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  23. ^ "The Hut Group buys collapsed beauty site". Retail Week. 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  24. ^ "Hut Group buys Myprotein in £60m deal". MEN. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  25. ^ "Luxury store opens in former bank - alderleyedge.com". www.alderleyedge.com. Retrieved 2017-12-01. 
  26. ^ "The Hut Group buys Coggles from administration". Fashion United. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  27. ^ "massfi.co.uk - About us". 
  28. ^ "Retailing group the Hut Group buys Preloved.co.uk classified portal". Internet Retailing. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  29. ^ "Preloved acquired by The Hut Group". BCMS. March 2014. 
  30. ^ Misiri, Talya (31 May 2017). "The Hut Group adds a competitor to its portfolio". Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  31. ^ "Retailing group the Hut Group buys Preloved.co.uk classified portal". Internet Retailing. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  32. ^ "Hut Group expansion goes on as tech firm gets into Ideal Shape". Sky News. 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  33. ^ "Hangar Seven Snapped up by Hut". Manchester Evening News. 2017-04-23. Retrieved 2018-01-23. 
  34. ^ "Hut Group spending spree goes on with UK2 Deal". Sky News. 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2018-01-23. 
  35. ^ "Hut Group continues spending spree with Illamasqua cult beauty brand". Telegraph UK. 2017-08-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23. 
  36. ^ "Online retailer The Hut adds to beauty brands with Glossybox deal". FT. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-08-20. 
  37. ^ "Hut Group takeover spree goes on with £100m-plus ESPA deal". Sky News. 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2017-09-06. 
  38. ^ "Hut Group continues spending spree with Illamasqua cult beauty brand". Telegraph UK. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2018-01-23. 
  39. ^ "The judgment by The Hon Mr Justice Blair - The Hut Group Ltd v Cookson", England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions, 20 November 2014.
  40. ^ "Business Desk article - 21 November 2014
  41. ^ "Costs awarded in The Hut Group vs Oliver Cookson & Barclays Private Bank & Trust Ltd - Press Release by DWF
  42. ^ "Permission to appeal granted in High Court case between The Hut Group Ltd and Oliver Cookson and others". DWF.LAW. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  43. ^ "Deals/Restructuring / Deals List / The Hut successfully defends court appeal by Cookson - TheBusinessDesk.com". Retrieved 17 April 2016. 

External links[edit]