Moo's latest hire fuels speculation over aspirations

By Jo Francis, Wednesday 18 October 2017

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Moo has appointed another senior executive with experience of taking companies public, heightening speculation that the fast-growing firm could be gearing up to float.

moo-family-products

Moo's product range has grown substantially

Ed Goldfinger has joined the London-headquartered luxe design and print specialist in the new role of chief financial officer. He has wide-ranging financial experience and was CFO at Zipcar when the car sharing firm went public in 2011. Most recently he held the same role at app security specialist Veracode, which was sold to CA Technologies in a $614m (£466m) deal earlier this year.

Goldfinger’s appointment follows on from the recruitment of fresh chairman Darren Shapland at the beginning of the year, and of former Vistaprint executive Nick Ruotolo as chief operating officer over the summer.

Moo founder and chief executive Richard Moross described Goldfinger as “the missing piece in the executive jigsaw”.

He said: “His accomplishments and depth of experience fostering and growing both public and private companies in the tech sector will be invaluable as we continue to focus on expanding our business.”

Sales at Moo jumped by nearly 38% to just over £75m in the year to 31 December 2016, and the business more than halved its pre-tax losses to £1.5m (2015 loss: £4m).

Adjusted EBITDA was £3.95m, compared to last year’s loss of £1m at the EBITDA level.

Staff costs grew by almost 30% to £21.1m, with the business now employing circa 400 staff.  

It was the firm’s tenth successive year of growth, and in his report Moross said the business had set a goal of more than doubling in size again “over the next few years”.

The US now accounts for 66% of sales, with 85% of overall group turnover coming from outside the UK. UK sales grew from £9.7m to £11.4m.

The business has also successfully targeted larger corporate customers through its Moo Business Services order management platform, where sales grew strongly, up by 55% to £12.76m.

A source said that Moo had now achieved the sort of scale that could make a public listing viable.

“They’re reasonably large in size now, and I’m sure their forward revenues will be more than £100m. The substantial growth in America makes them an attractive proposition and puts them in a position where floating the business could be an option.” the source said.

An alternative exit for Moo’s investors could involve a trade sale to a bigger business such as Cimpress or PhotoBox Group, which also owns Moonpig.

PhotoBox pulled its own plans to float in 2015 in favour of further private equity investment.

“For some reason there hasn’t been a trade sale of Moo, so shareholders will be thinking that another option is to float. And if a trade buyer was thinking about acquiring it, this could make someone make a move,” the source added.

Moo has also refinanced and extended its debt facilities from Barclays and TriplePoint Capital, converting £5m of debt at the year-end into a long-term liability.

At the balance sheet date of 31 December 2016 Moo had negative shareholder’s funds of just over £1m.

Shapland said the refinancing had significantly improved the liquidity and working capital position of the business.

He also said Moo was just “scratching the surface” of the potential opportunity with its latest product lines, including Business Services and its new notebook range.

Moo moved its European production facility from Stratford in London to a new 2,541sqm site in Dagenham in April. The site has 40 employees.

Moross was unavailable for further comment at the time of writing. A spokeswoman said: “Our sole focus is on continuing to grow the business, and we have nothing else to share.”

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