The move should not necessarily be taken as a reflection of the company’s prospects as Nixon has been winding down his interest in the business in terms of both his shareholding and active participation for years. In June 2013 he offloaded an 18.5% stake worth £200 million and in March 2014 he sold a further 10.6% worth £129 million.
In March (25 Mar) he abandoned plans to sell a 6.4% stake amid speculation he had not been able to secure the desired price for the stock. Nixon nets around £60 million from today’s sale of a 3.7% holding. The sale also reduces the amount of control he has over the firm as it takes his stake to 12.8% - below the 15% threshold at which he is entitled to nominate a non-executive director to the board. Notably this is a right he has never exercised in the past.
Nixon started the site with Duncan Cameron in 1999 and bought Cameron out ahead of its flotation in 2007. He stepped down as chief executive in 2008 and in April 2013 moved from non-executive deputy chairman to his current role of non-executive director.