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The Hut Group Poised to Acquire Christophe Robin

The British business has been expanding at a dizzying pace, buying beauty brands, service companies and property.

LONDON — The Hut Group, the online beauty and well-being e-commerce platform, is poised to grow further with the acquisition of the high-end French hair-care brand Christophe Robin, according to well-placed sources.

Sources said a deal could be announced as early as Thursday. Neither The Hut Group nor Robin could be reached for comment.

A renowned colorist, with celebrity clients that have included Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Vanessa Paradis and Alber Elbaz, Robin launched his eponymous hair-care line, inspired by nature and ancestral recipes, in 1999. Its first products, containing lavender and lemon, focused on treating colored and sensitive hair.

Subsequently, the range has grown to comprise shampoos, masks and temporary color, with formulas including ingredients such as jujube bark extract, rose extract, aloe vera and prickly pear oil.

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The Christophe Robin line is sold through retailers like Sephora, Nordstrom and Space NK, as well as online and in the colorist’s own salon in Paris’ second arrondissement.

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Christophe Robin would be the latest in a streak of purchases by the growing group, which earlier this month announced a boost of more than $1 billion in new banking facilities. The Hut Group said the money would support upcoming major investments in beauty, technology and infrastructure, helping it deliver on its growth plans.

A hot segment in prestige beauty these days, hair is drawing increasing interest for M&A play. In the U.S., for instance, the category has been growing faster than skin care or makeup.

In 2018, The Hut Group had sales in excess of $1.2 billion, driven in part by its beauty portfolio, which includes brands such as Glossybox, Espa, Eyeko, Mamma Mio and Illamasqua. It also boasts a proprietary e-commerce technology platform called THG Ingenuity, which generates global consumer demand insights.

The group has, as well, agreed to new property funding of up to 40 million euros with Intesa Sanpaolo to finance the acquisition of a distribution warehouse in Wroclaw, Poland, an 800,000-square-foot fulfillment and manufacturing facility that provides the group with faster and more efficient access to almost 300 million online shoppers.

Matthew Moulding, founder and chief executive officer of THG, said the company wants to become “the global digital leader across the beauty and well-being sector.”

Last September, it purchased Acheson & Acheson, a British contract manufacturer for prestige beauty brands that does product design and development, formulation development, international sourcing, product testing, U.K. manufacturing and distribution.

Last year, it also bought Language Connect, a language translation and localization services company, to help its online platform grow. THG retails more than 8,000 brands and operates more than 160 localized web sites across 35 languages and 42 currencies.