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Hunter sees huge gain from Hut Group ‘lesson’

Tom Hunter at Scottish Edge

Sir Tom Hunter: ‘transferring value’

Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter has spoken about how an early investment in Hut Group has yielded a huge return that will eventually be transferred to supporting good causes.

His investment group West Coast Capital took a 3.75% pre-flotation stake in the online retailer and still holds 1.96%, valued on today’s market cap at £130m.

In notes attached to his annual accounts he said that in 2009 “we were having a very bad financial crisis , which has been well documented” and being asked to judge a competition he met Matt Moulding and John Gallemore of The Hut.

They were selling DVDs, CDs, computer games online, white labelling for Asda and other retailers.

“I asked if they knew this wasn’t a long term proposition, they said of course but we have to start somewhere. They won, got me as a mentor and I invested a small amount.

“Fast forward to September 2020, The Hut Group plc floated on the LSE,  It created more millionaires on its payroll than any UK company in history.

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“The Hut Group plc has created 3,000 high quality jobs since March 2020 taking their total to 10,000, average age 26 years.  We are very proud to be shareholders in The Hut Group PLC.

“The moral of the story is I learned a lot more from Matt that I ever taught him. You’ve got to turn up to have a chance even when you don’t want to.

“The UK will be lead out of this crisis by entrepreneurs like Matt and Johnny creating jobs and plotting the future not moaning about the past.

“Good luck to all the disrupters we need you more than ever.”

Accounts just filed show a £30m gain for West Coast Capital Holdings in the 12 months to the end of March.

Sir Tom said he was beginning to transfer assets between his investment interests and his charitable Hunter Foundation whose objectives are to invest in the interconnecting spheres of education, entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation

In the year West Coast Capital donated £14.4m in cash, gifted a £5 m investment in The Children’s Investment Fund and gifted a further investment of approximately £30m to The Hunter Foundation.

“This is the start of transferring value from West Coast Capital to The Hunter Foundation – the majority will move over time,” he said.

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“To be clear the purpose of West Coast Capital is to make money and transfer to the Hunter Foundation where we will invest for the common good.”

During the year the Foundation set out to build its own Hunter Global Leadership Centre to house its own programmes and those of others committed to delivering a better future for all.

Permission has just been granted in partnership with the University of Strathclyde for a site on the banks of Loch Lomond at Ross Priory.

The Foundation has established a subsidiary company, The Hunter Global Leadership Centre, to take this forward.

Total income from donations and investments increased significantly to £53.7m (2019: £7.9m) with expenditure on charitable activities increasing to £8.8m (2019: £6.4m).

Grants worth £8.5m included £2m to Kiltwalk, which raises funds for charities. Children In Need and the Head Teacher Leadership Academy were awarded £1.1m and £0.4m respectively.



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