Matthew Moulding has relinquished his controlling share in THG, the UK-based e-commerce retailer and sports nutrition group that was the subject of a takeover bid earlier this year.

Moulding, the CEO of the business he founded in 2004 as The Hut Group, has “transferred the ‘special share’”, which has now been cancelled. “All rights of the special share have now ceased in accordance with THG’s articles of association,” the company said in a trading update filed with the London Stock Exchange yesterday (21 June).

THG, which owns businesses such as the Myprotein sports nutrition range and the Lookfantastic beauty brand, ended takeover talks with Apollo Global Management in May after receiving a preliminary offer from the US-based private-equity firm in April.

Prior to the rejection of that offer, Brian Kennedy, the former owner of the Sale Sharks rugby team, acquired a 2.86% stake in the business. Media reports had suggested Kennedy was the sixth-largest shareholder in Manchester-based THG behind Moulding, holding company Sofina in Brussels, and investors Balderton Capital, the Qatar Investment Authority and Jupiter Asset Management.

The Guardian suggested Moulding’s controlling interest gave the CEO the authority to block any takeover offer for THG, with the newspaper adding the company had first pledged to cancel the majority stake in October 2021.

THG, meanwhile, said it had a “strong” second quarter in the trading update issued before yesterday’s annual general meeting. The company expects adjusted EBITDA to increase to £44-47m ($56.2-60m) in the first half to 30 June, up from £32.3m a year earlier.

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The business delivered a net loss in in the 2022 fiscal year amounting to £495.6m, wider than a corresponding £137.5m loss. No bottom-line update was provided yesterday. Revenue for the 12 months was £2.2bn, an increase of 2.7%.

THG reiterated its full-year 2023 guidance communicated in April: “The board anticipates FY 2023 group revenue growth across continuing divisions of low-to- mid-single digits. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in line with the company consensus, with a significant weighting to the second half of the year.”

Adjusted EBITDA in 2022 was £64.1m, an outcome the company said in April “reflects the stated strategy to limit consumer exposure to commodity cost increases, to prioritise retention and growth in the global customer base”.

Yesterday, THG said commodity prices continued to ease in the first half as it pointed to a “particularly strong start to the year” for its sports-nutrition business, “with the pricing decision to support consumers through exceptional market-wide inflationary conditions in FY 2022 now paying dividends”.