VC Holdings CEO Kenny Alexander has bought £5 million (about USD 6.1 million) worth of shares in the gambling group just months after he offloaded most of his stake.
He bought 833,334 shares in the Ladbrokes owner at 588.17 pence each, taking his holding to 1.5 million, excluding unvested bonuses. He said the purchase demonstrated his “conviction” in the FTSE 250 index company. Shares in GVC rose 24 and a half pence, or 4.1 percent, to 614 and a half pence, as reported by The Times.
In March, Alexander surprised shareholders when he sold more than two million shares, or 68 percent of his stake, at 666p each, banking £13.7 million, as part of his personal wealth management plans. The move, which came three days after robust annual results, sent the stock down 15 percent at the time. Along with his chairman at GVC Holdings, Lee Feldman, they sold a combined £20 million of shares.
Alexander said yesterday that his share purchase showed “my conviction that GVC’s strategy and long-term outlook will provide shareholders with strong returns.” He added that he was “totally committed to GVC for the long term.”
GVC, founded in 2004, has grown rapidly, partly through acquisitions such as Sportingbet and Bwin. Until last year it operated only online, but the £3.2 billion acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral a year ago brought it 3,500 betting shops in Britain and retail operations in Europe. However, tightening regulation has resulted in its share price falling by nearly 40 percent over the past year, sending GVC out of the FTSE 100 index.
In April Alexander described the decision to liquidate most of his stake as a “cock-up”, adding: “As I said to shareholders, if I knew the reaction was going to be as extreme as it was, then I wouldn’t have sold.”
GVC CEO had to face yet more questions over his stewardship of GVC in July after it emerged that he co-owns a stud farm with Ron Watts, an IT consultant. In 2017 GVC offloaded its Turkish arm to an offshore entity, Ropso Malta, in which Watts is a director. The transaction was worth up to €150 million over five years, although it transpired later that, to prevent its involvement in the Turkish market from scuppering the Ladbrokes takeover, GVC waived the payments.
He was also accused of running away from shareholders' opposition to his £19.1 million pay packet by holding this year's annual company meeting in Gibraltar. In May, he volunteered for a £150,000 salary cut after 'feedback' from investors. His basic salary was reduced from £950,000 to £800,000.