Lovehoney Founders Stay On as Investment Firm Takes Controlling Stake

Lovehoney Founders Stay On as Investment Firm Takes Controlling Stake
Rhett Pardon

LONDON — A European investment firm has acquired a controlling stake in Lovehoney Group Ltd., the Bath, England-based online pleasure products retailer.

Telemos Capital made the investment in the retailer for an undisclosed sum. Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford, who founded Lovehoney in 2002, will continue to run the company.

Lovehoney said the infusion of cash from Telemos will allow it to ramp up its international growth plan, “tapping into fragmented and underdeveloped markets and building on its strong consumer engagement,” according to Private Equity News.

Telemos Capital was founded last year by Philippe Jacobs, a member of Switzerland’s wealthy Jacobs family who describes the firm as a “team with a strong enthusiastic entrepreneurial family heritage and experience.”

Lovehoney, which markets in various markets, specifically in the U.K. and U.S., sells a wide range of “sexual happiness products,” as the company puts it.

Telemos said that Lovehoney sales have risen by 30 percent a year for the past three years and reached £100 million in the year ending in March 2018.

“What we liked about Lovehoney was that it was pure-play ecommerce from Day 1," Jacob Polny, chief investment officer at Telemos, told Private Equity News. "At the same time, the company set out to be female-friendly and focused on couples, away from the seedier end of the spectrum."

Lovehoney, which has won 11 XBIZ Awards in various categories since it started up, most recently was recipient of the 2018 XBIZ Online Retailer of the Year (Pleasure Products) and the 2018 XBIZ International Pleasure Products Company of the Year.

In 2016, Lovehoney won the Queen's Award for Enterprise (International Trade), the highest accolade in British business.

In addition, Lovehoney was recently placed at No. 41 on the London Sunday Times International Fast Track 200 for fastest-growing international company.

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