The Hut Group is officially on a deal spree.
On Thursday, the business unveiled its acquisition of makeup brand Illamasqua, previously reported by WWD. The purchase follows several others that the Hut Group has made as it looks to establish a foothold in the beauty industry.
The Glossybox deal, according to Paul Gedman, chief executive officer of the group’s prestige division, helped establish a marketing arm that should make it a more attractive home for beauty brands.
“Beauty brands are a real focus for us because we have the platform to reach consumers globally; we now have the platform to market globally, so that is our third [piece] of our beauty strategy, is to acquire more beauty brands,” Gedman said. “It’s all about how these things come together to become number one. We’re relentlessly focused on becoming number one in beauty, globally.”
With Illamasqua, THG takes one more step along that path. The business is a retailer of premium beauty products in Europe and owns brands including Mio Skin Care, Mama Mio and Grow Gorgeous.
“I am delighted we are adding Illamasqua to The Hut Group’s growing portfolio of beauty brands,” said Matthew Moulding, founder and ceo of the group. “We saw a business with a unique proposition and an opportunity to take a strong and dynamic brand to the next level. We are confident that we will deliver significant growth and further extend Illamasqua’s global customer base.”
Illamasqua makes professional-level makeup and nail polish products that have a cult following among consumers and makeup artists alike, with hero products including Hydra Veil and Beyond Powder. The brand is cruelty-free — something The Hut Group plans to keep in place. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Industry sources indicated the plan for brands THG acquires include expansion through their owned online distribution networks. The business is said to be actively weighing future beauty deals, and to have bid on Paula’s Choice in 2016 (that brand ended up doing a deal with private equity firm TA Associates).
Illamasqua’s products are sold through stores in Leeds, Liverpool and London, and stocked in Selfridges and Debenhams in 15 locations across the U.K., as well as Lookfantastic.com, which is owned by The Hut Group.
Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston said the brand had been working with THG for over a year “and [has] seen great successes, so this move was a natural step for the brand. Finding the right partner, with whom we could align our vision for the future, was of crucial importance and I’m in no doubt that The Hut Group’s digital strength and marketing expertise will take Illamasqua to the next level.”
Illamasqua previously took on an investor in 2010, when Joseph Corré, a founder of Agent Provocateur, took a minority stake in the business.