sold to PhotoBox for £120 million

Online greetings card retailer has been sold to online digital photo service PhotoBox for £120 million in a merger that will create one of Europe's largest personal publishers.

Online greetings card retailer has been sold to online digital photo service PhotoBox for £120 million in a merger that will create one of Europe’s largest personal publishers, the companies have announced.

Nick Jenkins, the founder and chairman of Moonpig, is set for a multi-million pound windfall after agreeing to sell the business, including some of his 35 per cent stake, to PhotoBox. The former commodities trader at Glencore founded the business in 1999.

Jenkins plans to reinvest in the new business and will continue as an adviser to the merged company’s board of directors. He comments that the deal will enable Moonpig to enter new overseas markets and offer a wider range of products.

Under the terms of the £120 million purchase, Moonpig’s existing shareholders will roll over a portion of their holdings to the share capital of the new merged group. Existing shareholders including Highland Capital Partners, Index Ventures and Harbourvest have backed the deal, which also secured the support of a group of new private equity investors led by Insight Ventures, Quilvest Ventures and Greenspring Associates.

PhotoBox and Moonpig will continue to operate as separate brands, but the group expects to leverage increased scale and the complementary customer bases to deliver growth. Together, they will have 15 million members with about six million active customers in 15 countries.

PhotoBox, whose turnover was €80 million (£72 million) last year, processed more than one million individual photo prints each day in 2010 for its 11 million members. It merged with French service Photoways in April 2006. Moonpig shipped more than 12 million cards to nearly three million customers in the past 12 months. Moonpig’s turnover was £38 million in year ending April 2011.

The senior management teams of both businesses will remain following the merger, with Stan Laurent to become group president and chief executive, and Iain Martin managing director of Moonpig.

Laurent comments, ‘It’s great to see two high-growth, profitable and ambitious European online brands come together to leverage each other’s strengths and create a global market leader.

‘Given the opportunities in the personal publishing market, I’m delighted to have the support of such strong financial partners who share our vision and have strong track records in supporting successful, online businesses.’

Jenkins adds, ‘Everyone at Moonpig has thoroughly enjoyed building Moonpig into a household brand. The explosion in digital photography over the past few years has been evident in the number of our customers using their own photographs to great and often hilarious effect in our cards.

‘Stan and I both believe that we can now offer a much wider range of photographic products to our customers while adding our own Moonpig creativity. We can also take our core greeting card product to countries which would be difficult to access as a standalone business.’

Moonpig is the world’s largest online personalised greeting card retailer. It has recently launched in the US and Australia, and increased its product range to include flowers and personalised mugs, t-shirts and bottles of wine, beer and spirits.

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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