Hut Group holds talks with Cosmopolitan to launch retail websites for magazine brands

 

An online retailer that counts River Island’s founding family as investors is in talks with the owner of Cosmopolitan magazine to launch retail websites for magazine brands.

Hut Group, which owns music site zavvi.com and nutrition supplements site Myprotein.com, is discussing with Hearst Magazines UK developing commercial websites for its magazine brands.

Hearst, previously known as National Magazine Company or NatMags, has been expanding its digital arm, and already runs websites, including handbag.com, digitalspy.co.uk and netdoctor.co.uk, separately from its magazine brands which also all have their own websites.

It is thought the joint venture with Hut will help it create websites for some of its magazine brands that will allow readers to shop online. Hearst publishes 20 magazines and 20 websites in the UK including Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health and Reveal.

Hut is on the expansion trial, and has been raising money to pursue acquisitions. The Cheshire-based group’s backers also include former Marks & Spencer chief executive Sir Stuart Rose, former Tesco clothing boss Terry Green and investor Balderton Capital.

Chief executive Matthew Moulding is said to be planning a listing later this year. It has been reported that chairman Angus Monro will step down ahead of this, and could be replaced  by former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy.

Hearst and Hut Group would not comment on the details of the venture.

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