McGrath rebels sell at 65 cent with swipe from Geoff Lucas on departure

McGrath rebels sell at 65 cent with swipe from Geoff Lucas on departure
McGrath rebels sell at 65 cent with swipe from Geoff Lucas on departure

The McGrath rebels ended up selling their combined near 15 per cent stake yesterday for 65¢ a share to institutional investors.

The listed agency had faced the prospect of alleged activist investors picking up the stake but the stock was instead placed with Australian institutions who likely back the group’s management.

The sale was handled stockbroker Wilsons, which last week lodged a substantial shareholding notice for a 14.66 per cent McGrath holding.

The sale was less than one-third of the $2.10 a share the company was floated at in December 2015. Stock worth $42.8 million at the time of the float changed hands yesterday at $13.2 million.

The group, which included former chief operating officer Geoff Lucas who had a 4.3 per cent stake, had hoped their block trade would attract a premium offering, but instead settled for deal struck at a discount below the 73 cent Monday closing price.

The block was held by well-known agents including Ben Collier, Shad Hassen, Matt Lahood and Brad Gillespie, former McGrath agents who now work for The Agency.

The escrow condition had prevented the former McGrath insiders from offloading their shares since it listed in December 2015 at $2.10 a share.

Another of the holders, Beth­wyn Richards, currently works for McGrath, while Geoff Lucas has since moved to ­artisan bakery group Sonoma.

Shares hit a low of 54¢ in June, but lifted recently as there was talk of private equity firms circling.

Mr Lucas, who left McGrath in August last year after a seven-year stint, told The Australian Financial Review that as an investor he had to be properly aligned with the board, management and strategy of the company he invested in.

"I can't say [the McGrath] strategy is satisfying me at the moment," he said.

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Mcgrath Stock Exchange

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