top of page

Moonpig’s IPO

By Alexis Bernet, Olivier Baverez (HEC) and Ratish Singh, Luc Roberts (Warwick)


Summary of IPO

The online greeting-cards sector has been booming since Covid-19 related lockdowns have made in-person celebrations impossible. The demand for online deliveries of gifts and cards has then skyrocketed, especially in Europe. Among the numerous actors benefiting from this powerful market trend, stands the London-based company Moonpig. The firm does not owe its existence solely to the coronavirus crisis, as it was created in earlier years, in 2000, when the internet sector was growing fastly.

Much appreciated by its users for the possible personalization of greeting cards, the website has seen its sales double between April and October 2020. Moonpig is now a trustworthy leader especially in the UK, where it has 60% market share, and in the Netherlands with 65% of the market. This performance and growth perspective have raised investor’s interests in the past few months, leading to an IPO opportunity for the UK-based group. This IPO is the second largest UK-listing since the beginning of the year, ranking behind Dr. Martens’ one. The funds publicly raised will help Moonpig become a whole online marketplace for gifting in Europe.

Company and IPO Profile:

  • Sector(s): Online greeting cards

  • Exchange floated: London Stock Exchange

  • Amount raised: £491.2 million ($672 million)

  • Offered price and number of shares: £3.50 and 140.3 million shares including 134.6 million existing shares and 5.7 million new shares.

  • Over-allotment option: 14 million shares

  • Equity offered: 41%

  • Valuation and relevant multiples at IPO:

- Market Capitalization: £1.2 billion

- EV: £1.431 billion

- EV/Revenue: 8.3x

- EV/EBITDA: 32.9x

  • Coordinators/Advisors

- Joint bookrunners: HSBC Bank Plc, Jefferies International Ltd. and Numis

Securities Ltd.

- Joint global coordinators: Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co

  • Notable investors (if applicable): BlackRock Inc. and Dragoneer Global Fund II LP

Strategic Rationale

Moonpig is one of the firms that benefited significantly from the pandemic. Social distancing and lockdowns urged people to use electronic greeting cards. Since the creation of the company, 20 years ago, the revenues have grown at 13% per year. The pandemic increased this growth of revenues substantially in the last twelve months. The sales doubled in the last six months to October 2021, compared to last year.

For the executive direction of Moonpig, an IPO is the opportunity to pursue the growth and to consolidate their leading position. According to the company, Moonpig is the leader in the market in the UK and the Netherlands (about 60% of market share in the UK and 65% in Netherlands). This IPO should also allow Moonpig to resist growing competition as brick-and-mortar stores are opening online shops and as restrictions are being reduced.

The Company wants to be marketed as a tech company, as what people buy on their website allows them to understand more consumer behaviour. The database of the company is a strong strength and may allow Moonpig to increase even more their sales.

Market Reaction

Build Up

Moonpig was separated from the Photobox Group by its owner Exponent Private Equity in 2011. Investors such as BlackRock and Dragoneer Global Fund also held significant stakes in the business. The covid pandemic was favourable to the business and it saw revenue growth of 135% in the six months prior to October 2020. The IPO shares were priced at 350 pence each for the IPO, valuing the company at £1.2 billion. Moonpig planned to raise £20 million in the offering with existing shareholders, including Exponent Private Equity, selling shares worth £491 million. This IPO is London’s second largest this year, behind Permira-backed shoe brand Dr. Martens which went public in January with a market capitalisation of £3.7 billion.


The stock (MOON) jumped 25% within minutes of its launch to reach 440 pence on the LSE. This performance was supported by the company’s high margin business, 65% market share and an acceleration of online card/gift-buying during the pandemic. The excess liquidity has been encouraged by fiscal-monetary looseness and equity investors’ willingness to pay for growth. Further activity can be expected to gain traction in this environment, especially with the proposed easing of stock exchange regulations of dual-class shares and lower minimum free float. Some of the high-profile listings planned include Deliveroo, TransferWise, BrewDog and DarkTrace.

Potential Risks and Downsides

Moonpig has experienced accelerated growth since the start of the coronavirus pandemic due to lockdowns and restrictions, resulting in a shift to online sales in core British and Dutch markets. Following vaccine deployment and the re-opening of brick-and-mortar shops, customer retention and growth is likely to be negatively impacted. This is compounded by the extensive resources invested by retailers and supermarkets to develop their online sales platforms during the pandemic, significantly increasing competition in the online gifting market. Many of these competitors possess larger and broader customer bases, wider distribution channels and greater marketing resources, which pose a threat to Moonpig’s growth. Therefore the group’s ability to maintain current performance levels and market share post-pandemic is a considerable source of risk for investors.


bottom of page