The Hut Group confirms £4.5bn float

Online retailer The Hut Group has confirmed plans for a £4.5 billion stock market listing in what will be London’s first major flotation since the coronavirus crisis struck.

The MyProtein, Lookfantastic and ESPA owner said it will look to raise around £920 million through a share offering of around 20% of its stock, valuing the group at £4.5 billion, and is expected to start trading later this month.

It said BlackRock, Henderson Global Investors and funds managed by Merian Global Investors and the Qatar Investment Authority had agreed to buy £565 million of shares on offer.

The flotation is set to be the biggest listing of a UK firm since 2013 and will tap into surging investor appetite for online retailing amid the pandemic.

It will also be one of the first big floats in London after the coronavirus pandemic halted the recovering initial public offering (IPO) market.

The Hut Group (THG), founded in 2004, has rapidly expanded as shoppers increasingly turn online for health and lifestyle brands, with around 7,000 staff now employed by the Manchester-based group.

THG owns a variety of its own cosmetic brands – many of which it has acquired in recent years – but also sells third-party brands through e-commerce sites it operates, such as Glossybox.

In 2019, the company saw revenues jump by 24.5% year-on-year to £1.1 billion, with adjusted earnings before tax and interest of £111.3 million.

It told potential investors that its growth has accelerated recently as it saw revenues increase by 35.8% to £676 million for the six months to June 30.

Bosses at the group said the IPO will boost the firm’s growth plans by increasing its public profile and brand awareness.