Saturday 17 August 2019

Chairman of software giant Micro Focus cashes in £11.6m

Kevin Loosemore has sold half his stake in the business, saying he wants to ‘diversify’ his investments.

Kevin Loosemore, executive chairman of Micro Focus, has sold shares worth £11.6m (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Kevin Loosemore, executive chairman of Micro Focus, has sold shares worth £11.6m (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Simon Neville, PA City Editor

The executive chairman of FTSE 100 software giant Micro Focus has pocketed around £11.6 million after selling off more than half of his stake in the business.

Shares in the company plummeted at the end of last week – making it the worst-performing company in the blue-chip index – with many assuming that investors were unimpressed with recent results.

However, it now appears to be that the 15.99% slump during the week was due to Kevin Loosemore selling two chunks of shares over two days.

On Wednesday July 10, he sold 214,658 shares at 1,861p each – taking home £4 million – and, a day later, cashed in a further 435,342 shares at 1,736p each – £7.6 million. He still holds more than 640,000 shares, worth around £11 million.

Senior executives selling shares is usually seen negatively by other investors, but Mr Loosemore attempted to reassure the markets.

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Kevin Loosemore, executive chairman of Micro Focus, sold shares worth £11.6m (Micro Focus / PA)

He said: “Following the publication of our interims, I have taken the opportunity to sell some of my shares in the company.

“Until now, all of my assets have been held in Micro Focus shares. Having recently turned 60, it is time for me to diversify a little, although around half my personal wealth remains in the stock.

“As executive chairman, I remain committed to the business as we continue to execute our established business model. Micro Focus has tremendous opportunity to prosper and to increase value and I will continue to work to deliver that.”

Mr Loosemore and his board have faced a difficult year, joining a select group of companies which failed to persuade shareholders to vote through the firm’s pay report.

Shareholders narrowly voted down the remuneration report earlier this year, after heavy criticism over a massive £110 million bonus plan for executives.

Investors were angry at the board’s decision to give bosses an extra year to hit a share price target that would trigger the payouts.

Micro Focus is well-known for its generous payouts to executives, including a £268 million bonus plan for bosses and 30 senior managers in September 2017 after its £6.5 billion takeover of software divisions from Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Mr Loosemore pocketed £24 million from a share scheme after a previous takeover in November 2017.

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