Iconic boot brand Dr Martens (DOCS) has enjoyed a strong start to life on the stock market with its shares very much in demand from investors.

Such demand has also helped three of its directors land huge windfalls, who all sold a big chunk of shares at the 370p issue price, which was at the top end of its IPO price range.

Chief executive Kenny Wilson bagged £20.4 million after selling over 5.5 million shares, while chairman Paul Mason netted almost £12.5 million having offloaded around 3.4 million shares and finance director Jon Mortimore gained over £11.6 million after parting with 3.1 million shares.

The maker of Air-Ware shoes and boots, founded over 60 years ago, was placed with investors at a market value of £3.7 billion, or more than ten times the price paid by private equity firm Permira in 2014 and more than five times revenues of £672 million for the year to March 2020.

Nevertheless, investor demand was strong with the offer eight times subscribed according to the company, making it likely it will place a further 52 million shares on top of the 350 million shares sold in the IPO, taking the free float to more than 40%.

KNIGHTS CHIEF CASHES IN HALF HIS SHARES

David Beech, the chief executive of law firm Knights (KGH:AIM), has pocketed a whopping £61.2 million after selling around half of his shares in the business.

Beech sold 15.7 million shares in a secondary placing at a price of 390p, leaving him with a holding of 16.8 million shares, around 20.4% of the company’s share capital.

Beech’s remaining share capital is subject to a two-year lock-in following completion of the placing. It has been confirmed that Knights will not receive any proceeds from the placing.

Meanwhile another chief executive selling shares is Friedrich Joussen, boss of tour operator TUI (TUI), who gained around €5.1 million having offloaded over 1.2 million shares at a price of €4.13 each.

TUI shares are still significantly below their pre-pandemic level despite growing optimism over a recovery in travel this summer, with the company saddled with ballooning debts well above the level of its peers as it looks to stay afloat.

OTHER DEALS

Spare a thought for GameStop executives in the US who sold a big chunk of shares just before the stock went vertical.

It has emerged that around three weeks ago, four directors sold shares for a combined $20 million at a range between $21 to $36 a share. GameStop shares have fallen a lot since the height of the frenzy but still trade at around $90, and in the past two weeks had closed as high as $347.51.

The biggest deal involved director Kurt Wolf, who sold 810,000 shares for $21.22, generating $17.19 million from the sale. The shares were sold indirectly by Hestia Capital Management. If only he sold a week later.

Meanwhile another interesting deal involves former Greatland Gold (GGP:AIM) chief executive Gervaise Heddle, who this week bought 500,000 shares in the AIM-listed gold explorer at 22.4p per share, in a transaction worth a total of £112,000.

Following the purchase, Heddle holds 74.5 million shares representing 1.9% of the company’s issued share capital.

For a full list of the week’s most significant trades, click here.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 04 Feb 2021