The Hut Group styles deal for Christophe Robin haircare brand

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One of Britain’s most valuable online retail businesses has struck a deal to buy Christophe Robin, a luxury Parisian haircare brand which counts Kylie Minogue among its prominent clients.

Sky News has learnt that The Hut Group (THG), which is based in Manchester, will announce this week that it has acquired the business in a deal understood to be worth more than £50m.

THG’s purchase of Christophe Robin will add to its stable of owned luxury beauty labels, including ESPA, Grow Gorgeous and Illamasqua, and underline its status as Europe’s largest retailer of premium beauty products.

Christophe Robin is understood to have recorded sales in 2018 of £13m, with annual growth of more than 40% in the last two years.

Its products are stocked in international retailers including Sephora and Space NK.

THG has been a long-term partner of the French brand, which already sees more than one-third of its total sales being conducted through THG’s digital platform.

It is the latest in a string of acquisitions by the UK-based company, and follows THG’s recent announcement that it had secured a $1bn banking facility aimed at funding global expansion plans.

THG recently invested £100m in building a huge new operations and manufacturing hub in Poland, as well as investing heavily in its Manchester base, where the majority of its 5000-strong workforce are located.

In a sign of the company’s ambition, it is said to want to double its workforce to about 10,000 people within three years.

Among its other recent acquisitions was Acheson & Acheson, a leading UK beauty manufacturer, which it bought to aid new product development across its brand portfolio.

That deal also included Ameliorate, a specialist skincare range.

THG delivered sales of more than £1bn in 2018, and the company is now estimated to be worth well over £4bn based on revenues and profitability.

Its relentless expansion comes several months after Matthew Moulding, THG’s co-founder, became executive chairman of the company.

His move was interpreted by analysts as a sign that The Hut Group has little intention of pursuing an initial public offering in the near term, given the preference of public market investors for the chair and chief executive’s roles to be held independently.

THG’s acquisition spree has not been restricted to beauty brands and manufacturers.

It has also bought technology companies including Language Connect, which provides translation services.

The company sold a stake last year to Merian Global Investors, an asset manager, but is not thought to have any imminent plans for further equity raises.

Based in Manchester‎, The Hut Group was set up in 2004 by Mr Moulding and John Gallemore.

Other shareholders in the company include Blackrock, the world’s biggest asset manager, ‎the private equity giant KKR and Sofina, a Belgian investor.

(c) Sky News 2019: The Hut Group styles deal for Christophe Robin haircare brand

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