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Made.com picks banks to spearhead £1bn float

Written by on 25/02/2021

Made.com, the online furniture retailer, has picked a trio of investment banks to work on a stock market flotation that would value it at up to £1bn.

Sky News has learnt that the company, which has seen sales boom during the COVID-19 pandemic, has appointed JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Liberum to draw up plans for an initial public offering later this year.

City insiders said on Thursday that a formal decision about a public listing had yet to take place but that it looked increasingly likely.

The sale of a strategic stake to a new investor or outright sale of the company could also be considered.

Made . Pic: Made.com
Image: Made has been expanding rapidly. Pic: Made.com

Made.com’s shareholders include Brent Hoberman, one of the co-founders of Lastminute.com, who established the business as a joint venture between Mydeco.com and Ning Li, a Chinese entrepreneur.

The business has thrived as a pure-play e-commerce retailer during the last 12 months, meaning it is not burdened by legacy costs from high street shops.

It has also expanded rapidly outside the UK, with more than half its sales now in mainland Europe, where it is understood to see substantial growth potential in markets such as Germany.

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In addition to furniture, the platform sells home accessories and other related products.

It dubs itself as offering “high-end design without the high-end price tag”.

In December, it emerged that Made.com was handing share options worth at least £10,000 to every member of its 650-strong workforce.

Philippe Chainieux, the company’s chief executive, said at the time: “The business has faced a lot of uncertainties this year but it has been a positive one for us, and that’s really thanks to the contribution of staff: the people on the frontline in our stores, factories and warehouses.

“Without them we would not have been in a position to continue trading during the lockdowns.”

Made.com’s most recent accounts showed a 22% increase in sales to £212m in 2019, since when revenues have accelerated further, according to insiders.

A flotation of another of Britain’s online success stories would come amid a flurry of technology-enabled companies choosing to float on the London Stock Exchange.

A pair of Dr. Martens boots, a bottle of hand sanitiser, and social distancing signage seen through the window of a Dr Martens shop amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain, September 17, 2020.
Image: Dr Martens, which floated this year, is now set to enter the FTSE 250

In recent months, Sky News has revealed the plans of companies such as Music Magpie, Auction Technology Group, Deliveroo and Very Group to go public in the UK.

The rush of those looking to exploit competitive advantages reinforced by the pandemic has been accompanied by a shift in the existing retail landscape.

High street veterans such as TopShop and Debenhams have been bought by ASOS and Boohoo respectively.

A spokesman for Made.com said recently: “The rapid acceleration in the shift to online shopping, with three to five years change in the past 12 months, meant that 2020 was extremely successful for MADE, despite the challenging environment.

“As we move into 2021, we are exploring the best way to ensure that the business has all the resources required to build on our momentum and seize this unique moment of opportunity.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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