Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

Moonpig merger with PhotoBox announced

The digital photo service, has bought the personalised greetings cards retailer for £120 million.

It adds to a picture of consolidation in the digital print-on-demand sector when last week, Cardfactory acquired online card and gift retailer for an undisclosed sum, following the WHSmith buyout of online card store last Autumn.

Photobox will pay for the company using a combination of cash, shares and bank loans.

The acquisition will help the newly formed company to consolidate their position in the digital arena for personalised photo, stationary and greeting card products although the two companies will continue to operate as separate and distinct brands. The new group expects to use its scale and position to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the fast-growing European market to speed its growth further.

Figures released by PhotoBox reveal the online photography market in Europe is estimated to be worth €1bn. Similarly, the single card market in the UK is estimated to be worth in excess of £1 billion per annum with the majority of sales coming from the high street.  The online greetings card market is largely untapped with only about 4 per cent of greetings cards purchased online in the UK, excluding multi-packs of Christmas cards.  As the leader in this segment, shipped in excess of 12 million cards to nearly 3 million customers in the past 12 months. PhotoBox said its turnover in 2010 was £72 million, while Moonpig’s turnover in the year to April was £38 million.

The newly formed group will see PhotoBox boss Stan Laurent serve as group president and chief executive with Iain Martin as Moonpig managing director. The buyout signals a multi-million pound payout for Moonpig founder and former commodities trader, Nick Jenkins who owns 35 per cent of the company. He will reinvest some of the cash back into the merged business in addition to retaining his role as advisor to the company’s board of directors.

Nick Jenkins, founder and chairman of said: “Everyone at Moonpig has thoroughly enjoyed building Moonpig into a household brand. Every morning the equivalent of a Premier League football stadium full of people get a Moonpig card and they love them. We now want to build on that success. The explosion in digital photography over the past few years has been evident in the number of our customers using their own photographs to great and often hilarious effect in our cards. Stan and I both believe that we can now offer a much wider range of photographic products to our customers while adding our own Moonpig creativity. We can also take our core greeting card product to countries that would be difficult to access as a standalone business.

“As a long standing customer of Photobox I know that the Photobox team shares our passion for great service. This deal is very good news for both teams and all of our customers.”

Photobox Chief Executive, Stan Laurent added:
“It’s great to see two high-growth, profitable and ambitious European online brands come together to leverage each other’s strengths and create a global market leader. I’m excited to welcome the Moonpig team and to expand on its creativity to continue offering Moonpig customers a unique service.”

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