The Hut Group Acquires Lookfantastic Group, the Market Leader in Online Health & Beauty

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The Hut Group today announces the £19.4m acquisition of the lookfantastic Group, the UK’s largest online Health & Beauty retailer, as part of its ongoing strategy to become one of Europe’s largest online players.

The deal will see lookfantastic shareholders receive £19.4m in a combination of cash & equity for a business that has been built up by the Crown family, along with business partners Keith Conniford & Martin Hurst, over the past 30 years. As part of the deal, Daniel Crown, CEO of lookfantastic Group, will be joining the Board of The Hut Group to continue to grow the business and to assist with The Hut Group’s continued expansion into luxury goods.

The significant majority of revenues across the lookfantastic Group are generated from its online operations, which include lookfantastic.com, lookmantastic.com & beautysleuth.co.uk. In addition, the business also plays a key role in the Health & Beauty industry by providing a training centre for hairdressers across the UK, as well as operating a number of salons in the South East.

The acquisition further extends The Hut Group’s reach into the luxury goods market and follows its recent acquisition of the UK’s largest online Gifting website, IWantOneOfThose.com.

Commenting on the deal, Matthew Moulding, Founder & CEO of The Hut Group stated: “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. After meeting both management & shareholders, it soon became very clear that lookfantastic is a great business with a strong culture fit with The Hut Group. 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.”

Daniel Crown, CEO of lookfantastic Group commented: “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 and a combined database of 6 million customers across Europe, making the Group one of the largest online players in Europe. Together we aim to create a luxury consumer division and are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that we promote and protect our brand partners, whilst continually enhancing the customer experience.”

The Hut Group were advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers (led by Patrick Meades), HBJ Gateley Wareing (led by Paul Jefferson), Altium (led by Simon Lord and Chloe Ponsonby) and Savills (led by Stephen Vagg). Grant Thornton (led by Rupert Rawcliffe) and Rawlinson Butler (led by Tim Sadka) advised Lookfantastic Group.

Notes to the editor:

About The Hut Group

Founded in 2004 and based in Northwich Cheshire, The Hut Group is an online retailing platform focused on fast moving consumer goods including Entertainment (Games, DVDs, CDs, Books), Electricals, Gadgets, Health & Beauty, Footwear, Gifting, Accessories, Toys, Underwear & Sports.

The Hut Group retails online through its own sites including TheHut.com, Zavvi.com, lookfantastic.com, IWantOneOfThose.com, Gifted.com, MyBag.co.uk, Washbag.com, lookmantastic.com.

In September 2009, The Hut Group was ranked no.1 in the ‘Sunday Times Tech Track 100 of the UK’s fastest growing companies’ and ranked the 3rd fastest growing digital company in Europe at the ‘GP Bullhound Media Momentum Awards’ in May 2010.

For further information, please visit www.TheHutGroup.com

Please find below a list of websites owned by The Hut Group. For more information please visit their websites.

About lookfantastic.com

lookfantastic was born out of the Crown’s Salon Group, a Sussex-based business which started in 1978, which was well respected in the professional hair industry for both its traditional salon heritage and specialist training and education centres for hairdressers.

The primary aim of moving online in 1997 was to make high end hair and beauty brands more accessible, with favorite hair and beauty brands plus professional product information available at the click of a mouse.

Over the past 13 years, lookfantastic.com has grown to become the most visited website of its kind, winning numerous industry awards including: Best Online Hair Retailer for 3 consecutive years, and Best Online Beauty Retailer. Over the years, the company has formed strong relationships with every professional hair brand in the industry, whilst beauty continues to grow at a rapid rate. In the summer of 2008, lookfantastic.com increased the offering to include male grooming with the successful launch of lookmantastic.com which is growing in popularity daily!

lookfantastic Group