Boohoo has just splashed out £269.8 million to buy the 34% of PrettyLittleThing that it didn't already own. But that amount is only the "initial consideration" and the final price could actually rise to £323.8 million, depending on the performance of the group’s share price.
Clearly, that's a lot of money, but the company said that “the acquisition is expected to be significantly earnings enhancing on a fully diluted basis with immediate effect”.
By acquiring the remaining 34% stake in PLT, Boohoo said it’s “taking an important further step towards achieving its vision to lead the fashion e-commerce market globally by accelerating full ownership of a brand that is in high growth with enormous growth potential ahead of it, in a transaction that creates significant value for the group's shareholders”.
And the big spend doesn’t mean its acquisition ambitions have been satisfied for now. The firm thinks it can “continue to successfully disrupt the international markets it operates in today, whilst retaining a strong balance sheet in order to take advantage of numerous M&A opportunities that are likely to emerge in the global fashion industry over the coming months”.
The company acquired its original 66% stake in PLT in January 2017, something that looks now like a brilliant move given that the brand has been a growth star in the company’s portfolio. It generated £516 million in net sales for the year ending 29 February, up from £55 million in the financial year during which Boohoo bought its stake.
And importantly, it's profitable too with statutory after tax profit of £45.2 million in its latest year.
The company said that having complete ownership of PLT won’t change the management of the brand, and its senior leaders, Umar Kamani and Paul Papworth, “will remain in their current roles and continue focusing on developing PLT into a global brand”.
The transaction involves both cash and shares with an upfront cash payment of £161.9 million, funded from the £240.7 million of net cash that the group had on its balance sheet at 29 February. Having since raised new financing, this will leave it with over £350 million of net cash both to fund its operations and to make further potential acquisitions.
It's interesting that the purchase of the brand has happened just days after Boohoo shares came under pressure from a ‘short-seller’ that suggested the future potential purchase of the remaining stake in PLT could dilute the holdings of existing shareholders. In the event, Boohoo said the shares part of the purchase represents 3.9% of the group's issued share capital.