Shortly after its deal for Glossybox, The Hut Group is making another beauty acquisition — Espa.
Espa’s skin-care line is hinged on “Tri-Active” blends — combinations of plant actives, marine actives and essential oils that aim to create effective, natural treatments. The business develops and manufactures its products at its U.K. facility.
Espa’s products and spa treatments are used in more than 700 spas in 50 countries. Services are available in luxury hotels, such as The Corinthia London, certain Ritz-Carlton locations, Peninsula and One & Only. Espa’s products are sold at John Lewis, Liberty London, Harvey Nichols and through its own e-commerce site.
“I am delighted with this acquisition, which paves the way to an exciting next chapter in our journey,” said Susan Harmsworth, founder of Espa. “I am truly confident that The Hut Group has the passion and expertise to extend ESPA’s holistic philosophy, which has been at the heart of our products, spas and treatments for 25 years. With spas in over 50 countries, this partnership enables us to reach even more customers all over the world.”
“Synonymous with luxury, its products are sold in the most prestigious spas and retailers around the globe,” said Matthew Moulding, founder and chief executive officer of The Hut Group. “We intend to invest substantially in the Espa brand, especially in manufacturing capabilities, to develop the brand into a true global leader in its area. Our investment in acquiring the Espa brand further supports our ambition of becoming the world’s largest online retailer of health and beauty products by the end of the year.”
For the Hut Group, the acquisition marks a move deeper into the beauty category, something that Paul Gedman, ceo of The Hut Group’s prestige division, has called out as an area of focus. When the business announced it was buying beauty-box business Glossybox in August, Gedman noted the move was part of a strategy to build an in-house marketing segment that could cater to 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.”
Right now, The Hut Group sells beauty products from MAC, Bobbi Brown, Nars and Lancôme through Lookfantastic.com, and owns Mio Skincare, Mama Mio and Grow Gorgeous. The business grew 50 percent in 2016, to 501 million pounds.
Espa was sold by private equity firm KSL Capital Partners LLC, which generally invests in travel and leisure businesses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
CMS, KPMG and Deloitte advised the Hut Group on the Espa deal. Baylor Klein, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Deloitte advised KSL.