The Hut Group swoops for prestige beauty firm in multi-million deal

Matthew Moulding

Online retailer The Hut Group has announced the multi-million acquisition of a beauty product developer and manufacturer.

The Manchester based Hut Group is one of the fastest growing firms in the UK and recently announced it is planning to take on an extra 6,000 staff over the next three years.

The company is now valued at £4bn and has underlined its credentials by swooping for beauty firm Acheson and Acheson.

The deal is understood to be valued at between £50m and £100m.

The Hut Group has announced that it has funds of $1bn for acquisitions and the deal is likely to be the first of many.

The company is now one of the world’s largest online beauty and well-being businesses.
Acheson & Acheson, which is based in the West Country, was set up in 1992 by Kenneth and Fiona Acheson and has grown rapidly.

It has established a reputation as a manufacturer of prestige beauty brands supported by market leading research and development, manufacturing, regulatory compliance, product design and product development functions.

Acheson & Acheson has over 380 employees, which includes over 50 people working exclusively on pioneering product development and innovation.

The business offers an end-to-end service that runs from product/packaging design & development, formulation development, international sourcing, product testing to UK manufacturing, warehouse and distribution.

The company also holds numerous high value accreditations, including being a certified BRC Grade A Supplier and compliant with SEDEX.

Acheson & Acheson has a state-of-the-art 78,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Frome in Somerset along with two other sites in Trowbridge – one being its head office and the other, a facility for product packaging, storage and distribution.

The facilities will now be added to THG’s portfolio, which includes two food production and distribution facilities – a 1m sq ft Cheshire based facility and a US facility in Kentucky – as well as a production and logistics centre in Poland.

The investment is part of a long-term strategy with The Hut Group aiming to become a fully integrated, global digital leader in the beauty and wellbeing sectors.

Future expansion plans include a plan to spend £50m replicating Acheson & Acheson in Europe and USA.
Ameliorate, Acheson & Acheson’s own skincare brand, is included in the purchase and will subsequently be added to THG’s own brand portfolio.

Targeted at sufferers of Keratosis Pilaris, the specialist brand is sold globally through leading prestige and specialty retailers including Space NK Apothecary, Selfridges, Boots, Harvey Nichols, Liberty’s and Marks & Spencer.

Matthew Moulding, chief executive Officer of The Hut Group, said: “Acheson & Acheson is a truly exciting addition to THG and I am delighted to welcome this very talented team.

“In Acheson & Acheson, we have made a significant investment and one that uniquely positions THG to make a step-change in its innovation, operational excellence and manufacturing capacity.”

Kenneth Acheson said: “I am delighted with this transaction, which will no doubt take Acheson & Acheson to the next level of growth under THG’s expert guidance.

“We’re incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished to date and of our fantastic team. It’s why finding the right partner was of utmost importance to us and I have absolutely no doubt that we’ve found this in THG.”

Acheson & Acheson were advised by Baylor Klein (Tim Leach and Rob Halsall), who sourced and brokered the deal and Addleshaw Goddard (Paul Medlicott) provided legal advice. The team included Katie Parker, Rachael Norris and Mark Guttridge.

THG were advised by Travers Smith (Adrian West), providing legal advice and Ernst & Young (Richard Harding and Steven Kingham) and Deloitte (David O’Leary) provided financial and taxation due diligence advice respectively.

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