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Matt Moulding gives up his golden share in THG

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Now we know what it takes for a UK tech founder to give up their golden share.

Matt Moulding of THG (formerly The Hut Group) confirmed this morning that he would be relinquishing his “special share” rights, which gave him an effective veto over unsolicited takeovers but which also blocked the company from entry to the “premium” segment of the London Stock Exchange — and thus the FTSE index.

THG’s share price has more than halved in a month, accelerated by a dismal capital markets day less than a week ago. But according to Moulding’s statement to the stock exchange this morning, it was neither the share price fall nor pressure from investor SoftBank that has precipitated the change.

Instead, “after the anniversary of our 2020 listing we feel that the time is right to make this next step”, Moulding said. There have been happier anniversary celebrations.

Briefly

Gambling tech group Playtech has agreed a takeover deal. Australian gaming business Aristocrat will buy the London-listed company for £2.7bn including debt, if shareholders approve the deal.

Accountancy firm Grant Thornton has told creditors of Greensill Capital that it expects to charge more than £20m in its first year as administrator of the collapsed lender’s UK operations. That is up almost a third from a previous estimate and is equivalent to close to 5 per cent of the accountant’s entire UK annual revenues, Michael O’Dwyer reports.

Klarna is overhauling its UK “buy now, pay later” service so that customers will also be offered the option to just “pay now”. It is also introducing new wording to make clear to customers they are being offered credit, and introducing “stronger credit checks” ahead of an expected regulatory crackdown, Stephen Morris reports.

Rishi Sunak is considering a cut to the 5 per cent VAT rate on household energy bills. The move would cost the Treasury £1.5bn in annual revenue — but help Boris Johnson deliver a “Brexit dividend”.

The next interest rate rise keeps edging closer. Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey yesterday warned the institution would “have to act” to curb inflationary pressure, with markets pricing in an interest rate rise before the end of the year.

Also out today are brief updates from National Grid and Schroders, which reported a 2 per cent rise in assets under management over the quarter, to £717bn.

Beyond the Square Mile

Apple’s privacy changes have created a windfall for its own advertising business. It has more than tripled its market share in the six months since introducing the changes, which obstructed rivals, including Facebook, from targeting ads at consumers.

Trial data from Valneva’s Covid-19 vaccine showed it outperformed the AstraZeneca jab — a month after the UK terminated its deal with the French vaccine maker. Hannah Kuchler reports.

Goldman Sachs has been granted full ownership of its securities joint venture in China, allowing it to expand in the country as Beijing eases restrictions on foreign finance firms. Many US finance groups are seeking to take advantage of increasing market access in China — despite concerns about the political and regulatory climate in the country, Tabby Kinder reports.

And finally do check out this from our Big Read series, where Lex asks: does a transportation company that is still a year away from ebitda break-even — aka Uber — deserve a $91bn valuation?

Essential comment before you go

When Henry Kravis and George Roberts, co-founders of KKR, stepped down as chief executives last week, they appointed co-CEOs in their stead. Andrew Hill notes that “hydra-headed management” has a long pedigree in US private equity. But it has him puzzled.

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