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Hut Group boss poised to ditch ‘golden share’ after price crash

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Matthew Moulding
Matthew Moulding

The founder of The Hut Group is poised to give up his “golden share” in the company after a sharp fall in its share price sparked by investor concerns over his strategy.

Matthew Moulding, boss of the online beauty and tech business, will announce plans to move THG onto London’s main market as part of efforts to rebuild trust with shareholders.

THG, which is listed on the junior market, suffered a 36pc share drop last week after a disastrous meeting with investors. It was the third double-digit weekly decline for the company in the last two months, with about £4.8bn wiped off its valuation since early September.

Mr Moulding holds a controversial ‘founder’s share’ in the company, which owns online retailers including MyProtein and Lookfantastic. The arrangement gives him the right to veto a hostile takeover of the Manchester-based group.

Sources said that an announcement could be made as soon as Monday morning, with the shift to a more conventional governance structure likely to take place next year.

The move is a blow to supporters of so-called “dual-class” shares, a setup popular in the US in which directors are given greater voting rights than regular investors.

Introducing dual-class structures to the London Stock Exchange’s premium stock listings was a key recommendation of Lord Hill’s review of the market, released earlier this year. Tech entrepreneurs have thrown their support behind the system.

THG’s structure raised eyebrows in the City, with the company scrambling to reassure investors over the strength of its business model over recent days.

It has also been in talks to appoint Andreas Hansson, an executive at Japanese investment giant SoftBank, as part of efforts to overhaul its Governance, Sky News said.

SoftBank pumped $730m (£540m) into THG in May and acquired an as-yet-unused stock option that would allow it to buy a 19.9pc stake in Ingenuity, the British company’s e-commerce wing.

THG declined to comment.

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