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Real estate tycoon Nick Candy plans to take over THG | THG

Property tycoon Nick Candy is considering making a bid to buy £1.4billion online shopping group THG, formerly known as The Hut Group, which recently said it rejected many “unacceptable” takeover approaches that undervalue the company.

Candy, a Tory party donor with an estimated £1.5billion fortune who is married to former Neighbors actor Holly Vallance, now has until June 16 to make a formal offer or step down under the British takeover rules.

“Candy Ventures confirms that it is in the very early stages of considering a potential offer for all of the issued share capital and to be issued [THG]“, the company said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Thursday. “There can be no certainty that an offer will be made, or as to the terms of any such offer.”

Candy – a Chelsea supporter who was recently linked with a bid for the Premier League club after it was put on sale by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has been hit with sanctions since Moscow invaded Ukraine – confirmed the approach but declined to give further details.

“I can’t speak at the moment, I’m about to attend a premiere,” he said, ahead of the UK premiere screening of Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel in Leicester Square in London. “I can’t comment on that anyway.”

Candy Ventures acknowledged “recent press speculation” that THG was attracting bidder interest, which has galvanized its investment vehicle to explore a potential offer.

Last month, Manchester-based THG said it had dismissed “many” recent takeover approaches as “unacceptable”.

THG, which runs beauty and nutrition websites including Lookfantastic, Cult Beauty and Myprotein, said there had been interest from third parties but was not involved in any discussions at this time.

THG’s share price, which was down 4% at Thursday’s close but could increase bid interest when markets open Friday morning, is currently languishing at 116p. The company floated at 500p in September 2020 and peaked at 837p last September.

The company is trying to recover from a difficult year when it was criticized for allowing boss and founder Matt Molding to be both executive chairman and chief executive, which is contrary to best corporate governance practices. .

The board also signed a deal which saw Molding acquire a series of THG properties before leasing them to the company for millions of pounds a year.

Last year the company recorded a 35% increase in revenue to £2.2bn, helping to push adjusted profit up 7% to £161m. In its first quarter results this year, THG’s revenue rose 16% to £520m.