Two senior executives at the UK’s first standalone law firm to float on the stock market have each banked nearly £500,000 from selling shares in the business. Michael Ward and Peter Davies, chief executive and chief operating officer of Gateley plc, have each offloaded 328,900 shares at £1.50 apiece, netting them £493,350, the company announced.
The transactions form part of a sale of over 6.6m shares in the business by former partners of the legacy Gateley LLP - netting them nearly £10m in total. On the new company’s admission to AIM in June 2015, the former LLP partners held 70% of the enlarged share capital. At that point they entered into five-year lock-in agreements allowing them to sell up to 10% of their holdings in any 12-month period after the first anniversary of admission.
The 6.6m shares, representing 6% of the business, have been sold by the ex-partners to institutional shareholders (6.3m) and Gateley staff (308,000). This has increased the percentage of Gateley stock freely floated from 34% to 40%.
In sharp contrast with some of the other business models launched in the wake of legal services liberalisation, Gateley’s flotation appears to have been a conspicuous success. The shares, which were placed at 95p, were today trading at £1.66. In July the business reported double-digit rises in income and profits.
Ward and Davies retain 2.5% stakes in Gateley each worth £4.4m. Finance director Neil Smith has bought an additional 20,000 shares, taking his personal stake to 520,000 shares (0.49%).