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Activist investor’s shock bid to bury funeral firm Dignity’s chairman

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Activist investor’s surprise bid to bury funeral firm Dignity’s chairman
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he greatest shareholder in funeral company Dignity has launched a surprise attempt to oust the company’s executive chairman.

A fund managed by Phoenix Asset Administration Companions has requested for a vote on the potential of the chairmanship, proposing its have founder and chief investment officer, Gary Channon, to change Clive Whiley.

Dignity said it would reply to the request “in due course”, and urged shareholders not to make any commitments to Phoenix until the board had spoken.

It is unclear what has riled Phoenix about Mr Whiley’s leadership – the asset manager declined to communicate about the ask for – but the company’s share selling price has been battling for quite a few years.

It has been strike by a Level of competition and Markets Authority investigation into the funeral sector, which started in 2018.

Last December the CMA concluded that funerals were being costing shoppers way too significantly, and manufactured a sequence of suggestions.

Immediately after having a 5% stake at the start of 2018, Phoenix went on a shopping for spree for the company’s shares amongst October that yr and April 2019, getting its stake to almost 27%.

It acquired more shares in April and May well very last calendar year.

It suggests Phoenix, which now owns 29.9% of Dignity, was not a main investor for the duration of the heyday of the funeral provider’s share price tag, before the CMA set its sights on the sector.

Shares are buying and selling at significantly less than a fifth of their 2016 peak, but are only marginally underneath early 2019 ranges, when Mr Channon was constructing his stake in the enterprise.

Mr Whiley was appointed chairman on Mr Channon’s watch. He confronted criticism at the time for getting the task even though also chairing Mothercare, whose United kingdom arm collapsed soon soon after.

Dignity is established to existing its yearly results future week, but is unlikely to report a benefit from increased funeral need sparked by Covid-19.

During the earlier 12 months, funerals have been stripped back, this means the normal price paid by good friends and relatives to bury their cherished kinds has declined.

Dignity has also claimed superior amounts of deaths through 2020 are likely to indicate decreased numbers in coming decades, which will reduce desire.

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Citymapper crowdfunding marketing campaign soars previously mentioned £1 million concentrate on elevating £6.7 million in 24 several hours

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Citymapper launches first ever crowdfunding campaign and reveals expansion plans
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ity navigation application Citymapper unveiled on Friday that its 1st at any time crowdfunding round has elevated £6.7 million from retail buyers in just 24 hours.

The app, which ran the exertion on funding web-site Crowdcube, soared previous its £1 million concentrate on, securing the income from 9,000 investors spanning 80 nations around the world.

App basic manager, Bill Earner, who joined the start off-up in 2020 from the app’s London-based mostly VC Connect Ventures, informed the Normal “it was exciting and humbling to actually exceed our expectations”.

The get started-up, released in London in 2011 by former Google worker Azmat Yusuf as a way to locate out the best methods to navigate the funds on general public transportation, operates in 80 cities all over the earth and has over 50 million people.

It has raised £45 million from investors including Index Ventures and Balderton Capital to day, like new money from institutional investors last 12 months, and recorded a decline of practically £9 million on revenues of £5.8 million in 2019.

Its leadership had at first planned to start the crowdfunding spherical past spring, but delayed the shift when the pandemic strike and cities all around the environment ground to a halt. Citymapper admitted to potential buyer traders that at one stage previous yr approximately 90% of its end users stopped travelling.

The crowdfunding webpage explicitly instructed readers to “be sure to be informed that investing in startups is dangerous”.

The app stated its groups experienced spent the pandemic investing “in walking, cycling and micromobility, together with turn by transform instructions and voice navigation” – adding that it believes “it is a subject of time right before mobility will return”.

Ahead of the increase Earner mentioned he felt now was “a superior time to start” a crowdfunding spherical as metropolitan areas like London commence to bounce again, and immediately after executives have viewed metropolitan areas with low Covid prices and limitations, this kind of as Singapore, recover.

Citymapper provides a journey card, which expenditures £33 a month and gives limitless general public transportation in sections of London, and a “Club” perform which prices £2.99 per month.

Earner stated Citymapper ideas to use the newfound cash on many initiatives – including discovering “company alternatives”.

He stated: “We’ll continue on to develop our city protection, what we phone Citymapper Everywhere, with a aim of masking the most sizeable cities in the entire world.

“We have produced greatest-in-course technology in routing, transportation knowledge applications, and person interfaces. We want to make that know-how offered to other companies, so we are going to go on to make out that capability.

“We’ll proceed to make improvements to Pass, introducing options, integrating a lot more transport modes, and discover international expansion and corporate and business possibilities.”

It will come as fellow tech startup Curve also pursues a £1 million Crowdfund. Fintechs together with Monzo and Revolut have also accomplished crowdfunding rounds, which are thought to increase client retention and engagement.

Curve has raised £132million because launching in 2015, with with its Collection C fundraising securing £72.5 million this yr.

This week founder Shachar Bialick informed the Typical crowdfunding “makes it possible for us to improve evangelism in just our purchaser foundation”.

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