Pigs can fly

Jo Francis ponders the small print around Moonpig's flotation plans.

January has involved some not-so-light reading in the shape of a variety of weighty financial documents.

One of the most notable was of course Moonpig’s 7,700-plus word document confirming its exciting plans to float.

While perusing its content I noticed something interesting.

Moonpig is pitching itself as a technology business with ambitions to dominate the £57bn gifting market.

There is not one mention of the word ‘print’, or indeed printing, in the entire document. 

Believe it or not I’m not getting as bent out of shape as a pig's tail about this shocking omission.

Because what else do I have here? When I look at the separate and rather meatier registration document (more than 84,000 words, oof), containing lots more details, the crucial role of printing for Moonpig features in abundance.

Here, print definitely gets rather more than a mention.

Moonpig has its own in-house printing facilities, in Guernsey and Amsterdam. It has also installed printing kit at third-party providers who fulfil its expanding range of gifting orders, as the accompanying personalised card is of course a key part of the value proposition.

The business uses its clever technology to route orders to its partners, including a “new partnership with a third-party printer” in the UK, which has hooked up its printing facilities to Moonpig’s systems. This enables Moonpig to use the printco to produce certain types of cards to meet increased demand and/or extended deadlines.

And, it must be noted, any disruption to Moonpig’s in-house printing facilities, or to its third-party print suppliers, or at its suppliers of printing and finishing machinery, or paper, “could severely affect the group’s ability to supply its customers”.

Of course it could!

As Moonpig expands its personalised gifting ambitions it will be generating even more print, and different types of print at that. Possibly via other specialist partners. Think of all that ecommerce packaging, all the inserts, etc etc.

History note: Moonpig’s founder Nick Jenkins did not come from the printing industry. He just thought about what product would be [relatively] simple to produce and easy to post, and rather brilliantly alighted upon greetings cards, creating the first online cards business in the UK in the process.

With the business poised to become a PLC, it’s an irrefutable fact that without print and paper (and envelopes, and packaging) there would be no Moonpig.

As it is, this happy combination of print+tech is set to be worth at least £1bn.

Who says there’s no money in print? Moonpig’s investors must be as happy as a pig in, well, ink.