As eBay’s Jody Ford joins Photobox as group chief executive, we take a closer look at the photo and gifts etailer with global ambition.

PhotoBox is an online photo printing company offering prints, personalised products, greetings cards and gifts.

It was founded in 2000 by Graham Hobson and merged with French counterpart Photoways in 2006. In July 2011, PhotoBox acquired personalised card company Moonpig, creating the PhotoBox Group.

The group was bought by Exponent Private Equity in January 2016, with co-investment from Electra Partners, in a deal thought to value the group at £400m.

Its flagship brands include PhotoBox, Moonpig, Hofmann and PosterXXL.

PhotoBox currently operates in 20 countries, mostly in Europe, with fledgling operations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

It has more than 1,000 employees and two offices – one in London and one in Paris.

The etailer said it is looking to consolidate its foothold in the personalisation market, enter new territories and broaden its product offering, in particular for mobile platforms.

Jody Ford will join as the group’s chief executive on July 19, 2016. He has more than 10 years of senior leadership experience at eBay where, most recently, he led global growth at eBay Marketplaces. Ford will succeed Stan Laurent, who is standing down after 10 years at the helm to scale another technology business.

PhotoBox drafted in MandM Direct boss Jonathon Brown as chief operating officer earlier this year.

In 2013, the group bought fridge magnet specialist Sticky9 and PaperShaker, a brand dedicated to invitations and announcement cards. In 2014 it bought Hofmann, the leading producer of photo-books in Spain, and in 2015 it added German personalised products leader PosterXXL to the portfolio. All brands are notching up significant double-digit growth.   

The group’s most high-profile acquisition, however, was its first. Moonpig, which it bought for £120m in 2011, moved the business beyond photos into a broader range of personalised products and expanded its potential market from £2.4bn to £7bn.

The personalisation group launched new apps for both Photobox and Moonpig in 2014 as it aimed to capitalise on the growth of m-commerce. Its websites are now fully responsive to different mobile devices.

The group reported a turnover of £215.3m in the fiscal year ending April 2015.