The Hut saddles up for cycling craze as it ponders IPO

  • @Thompj

The online retailer backed by the former bosses of Marks & Spencer and Tesco has bought a bike accessories website, in its latest acquisition ahead of a possible flotation this year.

The Hut also unveiled a fresh fundraising that has seen the Lewis family, which founded and operates the River Island fashion chain, invest in the online business and Clive Lewis join its board.

The online specialist has acquired Probikekit, which sells cycling clothing, brakes and saddlebags, for an undisclosed sum from Encore Capital. The Hut is seeking to capitalise on the cycling craze sweeping the UK, driven by the success of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy at last summer's Olympics.

Founded in 2004, the group operates 16 websites, including the entertainment specialist Zavvi. It counts Sir Stuart Rose, the former chief executive of M&S, and the former head of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, as investors.