Online photo printing retailer PhotoBox, the owner of Moonpig, is being sold to two private equity groups for around £400m.

PhotoBox has agreed a sale to Exponent and Electra. The acquisition came a year after the etailer shied away from plans for an IPO as it cited “volatile” markets.

PhotoBox, whose investors include Highland Capital Partners and Index Ventures, acquired Spanish counterpart Hofmann a year ago and German photo printer PosterXXL since then. It acquired Moonpig for £120m in 2011.

The PhotoBox executive team, led by Stan Laurent, are expected to continue in their roles after the deal completes.

Bill Priestley, partner at Electra Partners, the manager of Electra, whose portfolio includes TGI Fridays, said: “PhotoBox is the market leader in Europe and is uniquely placed due to its scale to capture further growth as the macro trend for personalised gifts continues.”

Laurent, said: “We’re excited that Exponent and Electra Partners, both with impressive track records of building great businesses, share our vision about continuing to develop the most “personal” ecommerce business in Europe, celebrating millions of customers’ memories, birthdays and other happy moments.”

The deal remains subject to certain conditions, including a consultation with employee representatives and anti-trust clearance.