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The Hut Group acquires and receives equity investment from The Lewis Family Trust
Man wearing ProBikeKit cycling gear

The Hut Group Limited (“The Hut” or the “Group”), one of Europe’s fastest growing online retailers and brand owners, is delighted to announce the acquisition of (“PBK”) from Encore Capital and its Management, in line with its category expansion strategy.

Established in 1998, PBK is a leading online, road cycling specialist retailer with a global reach, a trusted brand heritage and an authoritative proposition of premium brands. PBK’s core product offering consists of accessories (lights, saddlebags, locks, water bottles); components (gears, brakes, seats, pedals); clothing, (helmets, eyewear, base layers, gilets, shoes); tyres and tubes; bike frames; plus sports nutrition and supplements.

PBK will join the Group’s Lifestyle division, alongside the existing brands of Myprotein, the UK’s largest sports nutrition brand and Myvitamins. The acquisition enables the Group to broaden its Lifestyle offering and to generate further product and customer cross-selling opportunities. Furthermore, the Group will expand the PBK range to include triathlon, another high growth and complementary product category.

In support of its category expansion strategy, the Group recently completed an equity fundraise primarily supported by a new shareholder, the Lewis Family, whose interests include founding and operating River Island. The Group welcomes Clive Lewis to the board and looks forward to working together across the Group’s clothing, footwear, bags and accessories offerings.

Matthew Moulding, Chief Executive of The Hut Group commented: 

“Following a review of the sector we identified PBK as the outstanding brand for acquisition given its heritage, the breadth and longevity of its supplier relationships and its international customer reach. Through our due diligence it quickly became apparent that Encore Capital had created a stable and professionalised platform ideal for the Group to enter the specialist cycling and triathlon markets.”

“We are very excited about the prospect of combining the specialist know-how of PBK with The Hut’s ecommerce expertise to compete in a sector growing at 15% p.a.”

Angus Monro, Chairman of The Hut Group commented: 

“We are delighted to welcome Clive Lewis to the Board. Clive’s retailing experience will be invaluable as the Group continues to expand its product offering, across 3rd party and proprietary own brands.”

In support of the PBK acquisition, Roger Hart and Kieran Toal from Addleshaws provided legal advice to the Group. Financial and taxation due diligence was led by Richard Harding, Noam Handler and Sue Wright from Ernst and Young. Jude Barter from the Gordons Partnership provided legal advice to PBK, with Management advised by Ryan Hawley of Squire Sanders (UK) LLP.

The equity fundraise was led by Costas Kalisperas of Barclays and legal advice was provided by Addleshaws, led by Roger Hart and Covington, led by Natalie Diep and Peter Laveran.

Enquiries: Hudson Sandler, Andrew Leach & Alex Brennan

Tel: 0207 796 4133

Notes to Editors

About The Hut Group

The Hut Group is a ‘multi-category, multi-website’ specialist on-line retailer and brand owner, selling high repeat purchase goods direct to consumers across the sports nutrition; health and beauty; entertainment; gifting; clothing and accessories markets. In June 2011, the Group launched a new division (Technology Services), focused on the provision of business to business software and ecommerce platform services.

The Hut Group launched its first website in 2004 and now operates 15 individually branded websites across product categories which share specific defining characteristics: non-perishable, high repeat purchase, one-man delivery and low levels of customer returned products.

The Hut Group operates 3 ecommerce divisions:

The Group’s ‘multi-category, multi-website’ ecommerce model is an evolution to the traditional ‘single’ site ecommerce model, enabling the Group to showcase branded products in bespoke retail environments, as required both by the brands and informed consumers.

The Group’s proprietary technology platform is central to the business model. The platform functionality ranges from the presentational layer through to all back office functions including an in-house data centre, whilst also generating in-depth consumer behavioural insight. The technology platform facilitates highly effective data-driven retailing, manifesting as optimised website content and bespoke marketing content generating high levels of consumer loyalty and cross-selling.

In 2009, The Hut Group was ranked no.1 in the ‘Sunday Times Tech Track 100 of the UK’s fastest growing companies’ and ranked the 3rd fastest growing digital company in Europe at the ‘GP Bullhound Media Momentum Awards’ in May 2010.

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