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The “special share” arrangement, put in place at the time of last year’s stock market listing, had given billionaire Matthew Moulding the right to veto any takeover. THG has always defended the set-up, arguing it allowed the Manchester-based group to fight off any hostile approach.
But with THG’s share in freefall recently, the firm announced it was cancelling the “dual class” share structure.
The arrangement has prevented the company, which owns online retailers such as Lookfantastic, Glossybox and Zavvi, from joining the FTSE 100 under UK listing rules.
As well as concerns over THG’s corporate governance, investors have also been spooked by plans for its beauty business and a recent City presentation.
Yesterday’s announcement triggered a rally on the firm’s battered share price.
Moulding, 49, said: “After the anniversary of our 2020 listing we feel that the time is right to make this next step and apply to the premium segment in 2022, thereby continuing the development of THG as we endeavour to deliver our strategy for the benefit of our shareholders, key stakeholders and employees.”
Analysts’ reaction was mixed, with Citi rating the stock a “buy” and saying the recent sell-off was “overdone”, while others remained sceptical.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, said: “This dual class structure was only ever going to last three years.
“Bringing forward the move by a year is not exactly sweeping reform, nor is it a magic wand.
“Clearly governance concerns run much deeper than a quick bit of airbrushing can cope with.”
THG has also been hit by plans to spin off its digital commerce Ingenuity division into a separate company.
It held a “capital markets day” last week, giving the firm the chance to ease concerns.
But the move drastically backfired, with its shares tumbling 35 percent on the day of the presentation amid fears that backing from Japanese investment giant SoftBank is cooling.
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