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Retailing group the Hut Group buys classified portal

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The Hut Group has bought Moo, which operates classified advertising portal in a deal that is being seen as part of a trend towards consolidation in the sector.

Advisor BCMS announced that the online retailing group had bought the 14-year-old company today. Preloved, founded by Ian Buzer, in 1997, is said to have 15m page views a month, 1.7m active users and about 100m page impressions a month.

The Hut Group, whose other businesses include myprotein, lookfantastic, zavvi and The Hut, emerged as the final buyer from among 42 organisations that had expressed an initial interest in buying the site, said BCMS.

BCMS deal leader Steve Marston, who led the transaction, said it was part of a trend towards mergers and activity in digital markets, following on from high-profile web acquisitions by Google, Facebook and others.

“I was confident that an iconic and award-winning website such as Preloved, which achieves millions of page impressions per month, would attract significant interest,” said Marston. “This was certainly the case, with six organisations tabling indicative bids for the company.

“Ultimately we have secured a deal with an excellent acquirer and I am sure Preloved will continue its outstanding run of growth under the leadership of The Hut Group.”

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