Notonthehighstreet is exploring a potential £200m sale following revenue growth during the coronavirus pandemic.
The etailer has drafted in investment bank Evercore to lead the bidding process, according to Sky News.
Sources close to the move suggested that a number of trade bidders and private equity firms had already expressed an interest in tabling offers for the 14-year-old company.
Notonthehighstreet, which sells products from more than 5,000 small businesses through its marketplace platform, was set up by Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish in 2006.
It has become popular with shoppers seeking personalised gifts such as toys and books.
Former Sainsbury’s finance boss Darren Shapland took over as the etailer’s chair back in 2015, a move that sparked rumours of a potential stock market float.
But current investors, including Index Ventures and German publisher Hubert Burda Media, are now said to prefer a sale.
In its latest financial accounts, covering the year to March 2019, Notonthehighstreet’s revenues were flat at just over £35m, but it trimmed losses to £1.5m.
Sales are expected to increase this year, benefiting from the rapid shift to online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.
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