Meet The Hut Group (THG), the British e-commerce retailer that made news after a failed attempt to buy out Australia’s Adore Beauty. Adore Beauty is Australia’s number one pureplay online beauty retailer, stocking brands such as Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Huda Beauty and Elf. The online beauty retailer reported earlier this year a revenue of $51 million for the first quarter ended September 30 and is up 4.7 per cent year over year. Adore Beauty confirmed that THG offered to acquire 10
cquire 100 per cent of the shares of the company by way of a scheme of arrangement for $1.35-$1.40 cash per share. Adore Beauty rebuffed the takeover attempt and brand valuation of $131 million as the board believed it “undervalued the company”. But who is The Hut Group? THG specialises in taking brands directly to consumers with divisions spanning the beauty, wellness and commerce industries. “THG is a leading vertically integrated, global e-commerce technology group and brand owner, powered by its proprietary technology platform, Ingenuity, through which it also provides end-to-end e-commerce solutions for brands to reach a global e-commerce consumer base,” according to THG. Back when THG was first publicly listed in September of 2020, it floated with a valuation of US$7 billion. Fast forward to November 2023, and THG has a market cap of US$1.31 billion, according to Companies Marketcap. A new power player in the beauty industry While the valuation of THG has decreased since its initial public offering, the group’s successful and attempted acquisitions signal optimistic plans for growth. The goal of THG has been said to create international demand for partner brands that have previously predominantly been sold in their country of origin only through specialty online beauty retailers. The offer made to buy Adore Beauty is straight from THG’s playbook after its buyout of UK-based online beauty retailer Cult Beauty for £275 million in August of 2021. The successful acquisition of Cult Beauty symbolised a consolidation of Britain’s beauty industry but THG’s latest attempt to acquire Adore Beauty hints at a more global strategy. THG is still sitting strong as a force in the beauty industry after it reported the beauty arm of its business earned £1.2 billion in the 2022 financial year and is up 4.5 per cent year on year. As well as UK-based Cult Beauty, THG Beauty operates other leading pureplay sites such as Lookfantastic and Dermstore. Together, THG’s portfolio of online beauty retailers encompasses more than 1,300 premium brands across the skincare, haircare, cosmetics, and fragrance categories. “When retailing brands to consumers THG Beauty will run with two unique fascias within our main continents: THG will principally service customers within North America via our Dermstore and Lookfantastic brands, while in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Rest of the World the key brands will be Lookfantastic and Cult Beauty,” said Matthew Moulding, executive chairman and CEO of THG, in a 2021 statement. The attempted acquisition of Australia’s Adore Beauty hints at the group’s plans to broaden its portfolio of specialty online retailers and in turn, THG’s global reach. While THG Beauty might still be on the hunt for an Australian online beauty retailer, it has already gained a foothold in the Australian beauty industry. In September, THG secured key commercial partnerships with Australian beauty brands like Hairbearcare and Skin Virtue to manage their UK operations and international expansion. It is apparent the British e-commerce group is looking to strengthen its presence in the Australian beauty and personal care market, where revenue is expected to reach $11.7 billion in 2023, according to Statista.