Lovehoney targets doubling of turnover following sale of majority stake

Posted: June 18, 2018

Telemos Capital has acquired a majority stake in Lovehoney, and it’s unlikely to be good news for the firm’s direct competitors as it is looking to double its turnover in the near future. Lovehoney has been approached many times in the past by third parties interested in investing in the business, and co-founder Richard Longhurst told ETO why now was an appropriate time to bring in new investment: “We got to the stage last year when we could see turnover approaching £100m, and we thought, this has become a massive business and we owe it to the business and the staff to make the best of it. The skills and knowledge and expertise that Neal and I have have got us here but we might need more help to get us to the next stage. Can £100m become £200m and £300m? We think so, and we’ve now got the right people to help us do it.”

Longhurst said the investment would help Lovehoney accelerate its plans for growth in the US, UK, and Australia “as there is still plenty of opportunities out there” and it will look at the possibility of expanding into new territories in due course. Strategic options are being reviewed and although it has no immediate plans for acquisitions itself, they are not ruled out.

Richard and fellow co-founder Neal Slateford, along with Lovehoney’s other existing directors, will continue the day-to-day running of the company, with Telemos executive chairman Philippe Jacobs and Telemos chief investment officer Jacob Polny joining the board.

All existing staff will be retained and additional personnel will also be recruited: “We’ll be using the Telemos network of contacts to bring people in as and when they’re needed,” said Longhurst. “We live in a Lovehoney bubble, doing things our own way, so it will be great to have some outside input to help us improve in all areas. What Telemos has seen in the business is a great brand, brilliant ecommerce, fantastic products that Bonny and the team create, and they’re really impressed with all the staff.”

The sum invested, and the size of the majority stake purchased by Telemos Capital, have not been disclosed.

Telemos Capital was formed last year by Philippe Jacobs, who is also co-chairman of Swiss investment firm Jacobs Holding AG, to invest in consumer, healthcare and business-services companies: “This is a mainstream business catering to the needs of couples with a female-friendly approach,” he said in a statement. “There is a huge momentum behind ecommerce in general but because of the discretion and anonymity behind retailing this product it is suited to growth.”

[Pictured: Philippe Jacobs, Telemos executive chairman; Neal Slateford; Jacob Polny, Telemos chief investment officer; Richard Longhurst]