Moonpig hires Goldman Sachs to run auction process.

<p>The online card retailer has been working towards flotation, but may now be sold to private equity firms.</p>

Online card retailer has hired Goldman Sachs to run auction processes. The news comes despite expectations from City investors for the company to float on the stock market.

The online photo printing company Photobox, which owns the Moonpig brand, expects to earn between £400 and £450 million on the sale of the card company – despite recent efforts towards getting a stock market listing.

Last year, Photobox hired JP Morgan, Jefferies and Numis to consider a possible £500 million flotation. And last month, expectations of floatation were further fuelled when Douglas McCallum, the former boss of eBay Europe was hired as non-executive chairman.

However, sources have told the Telegraph that several bidders, including US-based TPG and KKR have lodged an interest in the business.

In 2014, Photobox reported sales of £175.3 million and underlying earnings of £19.8 million.

Founder talks about Moonpig's early days

Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins has recently joined the cast of the BBC's Dragon's Den programme.

Speaking at the Salisbury Business Club, he explained the thinking behind his business – back when the internet was still in its infancy.

"I had the habit of already of sending cards where I would cross out the printed caption and insert my own, which was always funnier, and after some thought I came up with the greetings card idea," he said.

However, the business didn't immediately catch on and he was burning through cash at a rate that was difficult to sustain – but he kept pushing.

"When you go to investors for the fourth time saying 'I know the previous three plans were rubbish but this really is the one,' it takes some convincing. If I had stood in front of the dragons at that point I doubt I would have got investment" he explained.

He also said that TV advertising was what eventually turned things around for Moonpig.

"It was TV that made the difference [...] We went from a £3 million turnover to a £45 million turnover in a very short time," he added.

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