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Opinion
Andrea Felsted

What to Do When SoftBank Says ‘Not for Us!’

UK e-tailer THG missed out on a $1.6 billion investment from the global VC giant. Now, it’s got to learn to live with less.

THG CEO Matthew Moulding takes Boris Johnson on tour of a company fulfillment center in 2019.

THG CEO Matthew Moulding takes Boris Johnson on tour of a company fulfillment center in 2019.

Photographer: WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe

THG Plc, formerly known as The Hut, just missed out on a $1.6 billion investment from SoftBank Group Corp. It’s not easy to see how the e-commerce retailer, led by Matthew Moulding, will be able to replace that injection. THG will have to live within its means for the next few years.

To recap: In May 2021, THG announced a $2.3 billion deal with SoftBank.  Masayoshi Son’s venture capital firm became a cornerstone investor in the Manchester-based company, and agreed to work with it, for example on robotic warehouses. But the most eye-catching element was a $1.6 billion option for SoftBank to acquire a 20% stake in Ingenuity, the THG business that helps consumer companies sell directly to their customers via the web.