The Hut Rises After Founder Hints at Taking Company Private
THG Plc shares rose after the chairman and chief executive of the U.K. online shopping emporium hinted that he could take the business private following a tumultuous year as a public company.
Stock in THG rose as much as 6.4% in early trading in London Monday.
Co-founder Matthew Moulding said he wished he had floated in New York instead of London and he would keep an open mind about taking the company private again in an interview published in GQ Magazine last week.
“We do have other options in terms of I’m a big shareholder, more than half of the business is owned by me and a few people that I’m close with,” he said.
Stock in THG, formerly known as The Hut Group, has lost nearly three-quarters of its value since the start of the year as investor concerns about the future profitability of the group’s Ingenuity e-commerce platform grows. The company’s share price has also been weighed down by corporate governance concerns, largely around Moulding’s tight grip on THG as major shareholder, landlord, chairman and chief executive.
There are also questions being asked about whether SoftBank Group Corp., a major investor in THG, will exercise an option to buy a 20% stake in Ingenuity at the agreed price given the extent the stock has plummeted in recent months.
Moulding said he would not float THG again if he had the chance. “I should have IPO’d in America. That’s obvious. I didn’t do it because I wanted to do everything in Britain.”
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