News Column

Online retailer The Hut rules out IPO this year

May 28, 2014

Sarah Butler, theguardian.com



Online retailer The Hut has ruled out an IPO this year as technology groups launching on the stock market have endured a roller-coaster ride.

Chief executive Matthew Moulding said the company, which is backed by retail bigwigs including former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy and former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose, had no need to raise funds.

The company, which operates a portfolio of specialist retail sites including entertainment e-tailer Zavvi and gifts site Iwantoneofthose, reported profits of 3.9m in the year to December 31 up from 308,000 a year before as total sales rose 17% to 184.3m. Meanwhile the company, which is backed by Wonga and Betfair investor Balderton Capital, bought back 13m of shares from some of its early investors.

Moulding told the Financial Times: "You have seen [some very high] valuations. Everyone needs to see how that settles down first. We don't have any need to get caught in that crossfire."

He said the company, chaired by the former Morrisons finance director Richard Pennycook who is currently running the Co-operative Group, was likely to seek a listing in the next two years.

The Hut, which had been expected to launch on the London Stock Exchange later this year, is the latest retailer to abandon flotation plans after fashion brand Fat Face called a halt to its stock market listing earlier this month. Meanwhile tech-related stocks have endured a particularly rough ride, with electricals retailer AO.com's stock sinking 14% since it listed in February and Candy Crush maker King sinking 23% since its float in March. A whole raft of companies have floated on the stock exchange this spring as they took advantage of better hopes for the economy and historically high stock market valuations. But the pipeline appears to be slowing down, particularly after over-50s specialist Saga struggled on its debut last week, eventually launching at a value more than 20% below the top end of its original price range.


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Source: Guardian Web