The Hut Group, the online beauty retailer which is one of Britain’s fastest-growing technology companies, has rejected a string of investment and takeover offers valuing it at nearly £4bn.
Sky News has learnt that the privately owned business, which sold a stake last year at a £2.5bn price tag, has snubbed several approaches from strategic and financial buyers in the last few months.
The decision to reject the proposals underlines the confidence of The Hut Group’s management in its expansion ambitions, as well as the firepower already available on its balance sheet.
This week, the company will announce that it has agreed to buy Acheson & Acheson, a beauty contract manufacturer and product developer, in a deal understood to be worth between £50m and £100m.
The takeover will follow other takeovers by The Hut Group, including of ESPA, the skincare and spa brand, and Glossybox, a subscription service.
The British company’s portfolio also includes brands such as Mio Skincare, Grow Gorgeous and Lookfantastic.com.
Established in 1992 by Fiona and Kenneth Acheson, the latest deal adds another 380 people to The Hut Group’s workforce, including a 50-strong product development and innovation team.
Acheson & Acheson operates a 78,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Frome, Somerset, and owns its own skincare brand, Ameliorate, which is sold at Selfridges, Boots, Harvey Nichols and Marks & Spencer.
Matthew Moulding, The Hut Group’s chief executive, said the deal was “a truly exciting addition” and “one that uniquely positions THG to make a step-change in its innovation, operational excellence and manufacturing capacity”.
The company’s decision to turn down investment and takeover offers valuing it at $5bn (£3.9bn) will again stir interest in the price at which it could eventually sell or float on the stock market.
There are understood to be no plans to pursue either exit route, with further acquisitions said to be on the agenda.
Based in Manchester, The Hut Group was set up in 2004 by Mr Moulding and John Gallemore.
It employs more than 3,000 people and has said that it expects that figure to double by 2019.
Last year, it grew sales by 47% to £736m, with international sales up by 62%.
Existing shareholders in the company include Blackrock, the world’s biggest asset manager, the private equity giant KKR and Sofina, a Belgian investor.
The Hut Group declined to comment on the recent takeover approaches.