Share sale would value The Hut Group at more than £4bn

THG chief executive Matthew Moulding

Manchester-based global technology and online consumer brand giant, The Hut Group (THG), has approached global investors in a move that could lead to a multimillion-pound flotation and value the business at more than £4bn.

Sky News reports that it has spoken with a range of potential investors, including Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation, Baillie Gifford, Capital Research Group, Dragoneer Investment Group and TSG Consumer Partners.

If THG’s board decides to proceed, it would enable long-term investors such as private equity firm KKR and venture capital backer Balderton Capital to realise a huge return on their stakes.

It is believed THG is working with bankers at Citi and JP Morgan on its plans, which could take place in either the private, or public markets.

Sources say around 15% of THG’s shares are expected to be placed with new investors in the coming months, in addition to the sale of new shares.

Earlier this month THG unveiled sales of £1.140bn in the year to December 31, 2019, a 24% increase on the previous year.

At the same time it announced €1bn-worth of new finance facilities.

In December last year it successfully completed an oversubscribed £1bn capital raising, including £66m of primary equity raised from global investment manager BlackRock, and Belgium-based investment company, Sofina.

THG was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore.

It owns brands such as Christophe Robin, ESPA and Eyeko, and sells third-party branded products such as those made by Glossybox and LookFantastic.

It provides digital services through its own platform, THG Ingenuity, to huge consumer brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Nestle and Procter & Gamble.

And in April this year it announced plans to create its own aviation business, THG Air, to speed the global distribution of its goods.

With a 7,000 headcount, THG is one of the biggest employers in the North West and, if it does decide to proceed with a fund raising, it would be one of the most eagerly anticipated flotations on the London Stock Exchange in years.

THG has declined to comment.

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