The Hut Group Goes Public, Rebrands Language Connect to THG Fluently

The Hut Group Goes IPO and Rebrands Translation Agency Language Connect to THG Translates

UK-based e-commerce giant The Hut Group (THG) has listed on the London Stock Exchange, raising a whopping GBP 1.88bn (USD 2.4bn) in what the Financial Times called the biggest UK market debut in five years.

The offer price for THG shares was GBP 500p per share, giving the company a market capitalization of approximately GBP 5.4bn (USD 7bn). The listing took place on September 16, 2020, when THG’s share price opened at GBP 600p. Shares hovered at around GBP 640p on the first day of conditional dealings.

THG is the owner of multiple beauty and lifestyle brands, such as Lookfantastic and Myprotein. In addition to THG-owned brands, THG also provides end-to-end e-commerce solutions to third-party companies, doing everything from brand creation, product development, and digital marketing to data analytics, content creation and, yes, localization.

In the case of Myprotein, for example, THG said in the prospectus that online sales in Japan increased rapidly between 2016 and 2018–2019, “with growth driven by localization, including localized content, marketing, promotional calendars, influences, new product development, product catalogs and customer service.”

Yet, while THG’s translation and localization capabilities are an integral part of their IPO messaging, the company is a relative newcomer to delivering language services internally. 

Having likely been a significant outsourcer of translation for a number of years prior, THG acquired UK-based language service provider (LSP) Language Connect for GBP 12.7m in July 2018. THG said at the time that they saw translation and localization as a means to grow sales internationally, both for THG-owned brands and for third parties. 

Language Connect is in the process of being rebranded to THG Fluently and is housed under one of THG’s three business units, THG Ingenuity, which contributed GBP 128m (USD 166m) to total company revenues of GBP 1.1m (USD 1.4bn) in 2019. The division currently operates more than 200 localized websites across THG-owned and third-party brands, supporting more than 40 currencies and 60 languages. In the prospectus, THG calls THG Fluently their “in-house translation agency, which provides localised content for all of THG’s brands and websites.”

THG Fluently revenues were not split out separately from THG Ingenuity in the registration document, but full-year 2019 figures of USD 18.8m were provided to Slator for the Slator 2020 LSPI (listed as Language Connect).

THG Fluently continues to work with what was Language Connect’s customer base, which includes financial, legal, and government institutions in the UK as well as the likes of ExxonMobile and Thomson Reuters. They also translated more than 25 million words for THG-owned brands in 2019, according to the prospectus.

Update: A previous version of this article said that Language Connect had been rebranded to THG Translates (which is the name used throughout the IPO prospectus). It is instead in the process of being rebranded to THG Fluently.