THG to buy skincare brand Biossance for $20m

  • THG, formerly The Hut Group, successfully bid at an auction for Biossance 
  • Biotechnology firm Amyris put Biossance on sale after filing for bankruptcy
  • Customers have bought around $300m of Biossance products since 2015 

Deal: THG has agreed to buy skincare brand Biossance (Pictured: Reese Witherspoon, a global ambassador for Biossance)

THG has agreed to acquire the skincare brand Biossance from its bankrupt owner for up to $20million (£15.8million).

Matthew Moulding’s e-commerce firm will buy Biossance from biotechnology group Amyris, which put its beauty brands up for sale in August after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.

THG, formerly The Hut Group, successfully bid at an auction on 30 November for the brand, whose cleansers, creams and serums contain squalane, a saturated oil made from fermented sugarcane.

Customers have bought approximately $300million of Biossance products since the brand launched in 2015, including at Harrods and Selfridges stores, and on THG’s Lookfantastic and Cult Beauty websites.

The takeover is set to be finalised in mid-December, with full integration taking place during the first quarter of next year.

It marks the second acquisition in recent months by THG, having bought the London-focused business newspaper City AM through a pre-pack administration in July.

Moulding, the firm’s chief executive and co-founder, said Biossance’s ‘technology-led, clean chemistry formulations resonate with consumers globally, evidenced by a strong performance on our own retail sites’.

He added: ‘We have significant experience in prestige skincare as an innovator and manufacturer, and through our own brand portfolio including Perricone MD and ESPA.

‘We’re incredibly fortunate and excited to secure this opportunity to work with the Biossance team and further build on the brand’s strong awareness across the US.’

THG has struggled with soaring losses, weaker online trade and corporate governance concerns since listing on the London Stock Exchange three years ago.

In the three months ending September, THG’s turnover declined for the fourth successive quarter due to destocking hitting its beauty manufacturing business and a drop in new product launches in its nutrition division.

The Manchester-based company received a takeover approach from Apollo Global Management earlier this year but ended talks with the American private equity giant in May because it believed the offers were too low.

Founded in 2004 by Moulding and John Gallimore, THG started as a website selling CDs and DVDs, but now sells cosmetics, luxury goods, dietary supplements, and a direct-to-consumer technology platform for companies.

THG shares were 0.3 per cent higher at 78p on late Tuesday morning, although they have plunged by more than 80 per cent since the firm’s initial public offering.