The Hut pumps up with MyProtein swoop
ONLINE retailer The Hut Group has bought Myprotein, the sports nutrition company in a deal understood to be worth around £58m.
The deal – which saw the Northwich-based company outbid several private equity houses – comes ahead of an expected Stock Market flotation this year.
Led by award winning entrepreneur Matt Moulding The Hut Group has attracted investment from some of the country’s leading retailers including former Marks & Spencer supremo Sir Stuart Rose and also recently-retired Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy.
Sales at the company, which sells products across a wide range of categories from home entertainment to clothing and personal grooming, are expected to top £160m this year.
Oliver Cookson, the founder of Wythenshawe-based MyProtein, is joining the Hut’s board as head of its Lifestyle division. He launched MyProtein with just £500 from his garage. Sales this year are expected to be around £25m, up from £16m in 2010.
Matt Mouilding said: “Myprotein.com is an outstanding business which we are delighted to welcome to the group. Opportunities to partner with businesses of the scale of Myprotein that are continuing to grow at 50% in 2011 are few and far between, especially in this economic climate.
“It’s also a great advantage to be adding both the experience and expertise of Oliver Cookson, as well as the talented management team that have helped deliver such an impressive market position across Europe.
“The addition of Myprotein to The Hut’s operating platform is another milestone in our ambitions to become one of Europe’s leading online players. The team at The Hut are looking forward to working together with Oliver in further developing and delivering Myprotein’s international growth plans.”
Oliver Cookson, founder and CEO of Myprotein, said: “I have immensely enjoyed the journey of helping to build Myprotein into the market leading business it is today and I am truly excited at the prospect of joining forces with The Hut Group, which is a business I have admired for a number of years.
“Myprotein’s range of award winning products coupled with The Hut’s leading technology platform and expansive customer base will help take Myprotein a step closer to becoming Europe’s leading sports nutrition brand.I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the management and employees who have helped achieve what is a great growth story.
“However, for them and for me, this isn’t the end of the journey, it is the start of a new and what I am sure will be an equally, if not more, exciting one.”
The Hut Group’s websites, which include zavvi.co.uk, and lookfantastic.com attract more than 10 million visits per month, amd have more than six million unique users. The company expects to ship more than 4.5 million orders this year.
Myprotein makes and sells direct to consumers in this country and across Europe. It has a warehouse, production and dispatch facility. It supplies protein powders, amino acids, vitamins, ready-to-drink products, omega oils and other items to help people build muscle, lose weight and supplement their diets.
Investment bank Altium’s Manchester office handled the sale of Myprotein.com. Richard Faulkner and Oliver Reece at Barclays Corporate arranged the finance. The Hut team comprised mergers and acquisitions director Steven Whitehead, legal director James Pochin and finance director Darren Rajanah.
The Hut’s legal adviser on the deal were Gateley’s, led by partner Paul Jefferson and supported by Jemma Bolton.
Paul Jefferson, said: “The acquisition of Myprotein is quite an achievement for The Hut Group and marks a key milestone in the continued successful growth of the business.
“We are delighted to have been involved in this, the latest in a series of acquisitions on which we have advised The Hut. It’s also encouraging to see an increase in number of deals of this size as the M&A market in the region continues to improve.”
Mr Cookson was advised by Addleshaw Goddard, led by partner Jim Tully and supported by Duncan Wilson.