By Jon Whiteaker - 05:32PM - Tue 9th November 2010
Retail e-commerce services company The Hut Group has today announced the acquisition of a market leading online health & beauty retailer, Lookfantastic Group.
The deal is worth £19.4 million and takes the independent business out of the hands of the Crown family for the first time since it was established in 1997.
Trading in hair-care and beauty products, the retail group runs websites Lookfantastic.com, Lookmantastic.com and Beautysleuth.co.uk, along with providing a training centre for hairdressers across the UK and running a number of salons in the south-east of England.
Daniel Crown, CEO of Lookfantastic Group, said: “Prior to holding discussions with The Hut Group, we had been considering investment in our company to accelerate our growth and consolidate our position as the UK’s leading hair & beauty website.
“When we spoke to The Hut, we immediately recognised they were the right partner for the next stage of Lookfantastic’s growth.
“The Hut has an industry leading IT platform, in excess of 40 multi-category websites and a combined database of six million customers across Europe, making the group one of the largest online players in Europe.”
Crown will join the board of The Hut Group to assist in the continuing growth of the specialist, which posted £20 million worth of sales and £2.4 million in profit before tax in accounts up until March 31st.
The Hut Group is one of the fastest expanding online retail groups in the UK, recently acquiring the country’s biggest gifting website Iwantoneofthose.com and launching websites such as Zavvi.es, Mybag.co.uk and Gifted.com.
In August The Hut Group purchased wedding business Confetti from Findel Group a week before placing it into administration.
Matthew Moulding, founder and CEO of The Hut Group, commented: “We are delighted to have entered into a partnership with the Lookfantastic team. After reviewing the health & beauty industry earlier this year, we identified Lookfantastic as the market leader.
“The strength of the existing team is a key win for The Hut Group, as we look to build experience and capability in new categories and become a key player in the luxury goods market.”
Financial specialist PricewaterhouseCoopers, HBJ Gateley Wareing, Altium and Savills advised The Hut Group on the deal, whilst firms Grant Thornton and Rawlinson Butler advised Lookfantastic Group.
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