The Hut Group is reportedly poised to raise new funds that will push the company's valuation to close to 1 billion pounds. Media reports that the retail group would be working with investment bankers at Barclays to sell between 50 and 100 million pounds of new shares.

Sky News has learnt that The Hut Group, expects the proceeds to be used to fund potential acquisitions, while a small proportion could be used to buy out some minority shareholders in the multi-website retailer.

A source close to the plans quoted by the financial channel said earlier this month that the fundraising was expected to value The Hut Group at almost 900 million pounds, subject to terms being finalised during the coming weeks, highlights Sky News.

At that valuation, the company would become one of the UK's most valuable digital businesses, including Asos.com.

The Hut Group is chaired by Richard Pennycook, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, and boasts shareholders including Sir Terry Leahy, the former Tesco chief executive, and Lord Rose, who chairs Ocado and previously ran Marks & Spencer.

Established in 2004 by Matt Moulding, who remains the chief executive, and John Gallemore to provide a technology platform for retailers requiring e-commerce services, The Hut Group sold last year a 19.2 percent stake to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Blackrock, the world's biggest asset manager, is also a shareholder, while at a 900 million pounds valuation, Moulding's family's stake – worth of 21.1 percent at the end of last year - would be worth more than 180 million pounds, reports.

In 2006, the company switched to primarily operating its own websites or acquiring existing sites. It now sells third-party branded or own-label health and beauty products across 26 websites such as Myprotein, Lookfantastic, Exantediet and Mybag.

The Hut Group declined to comment on Friday.

 

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