Hipgnosis shareholders reject £440m portfolio sale and continuation

Board to put forward proposals for ‘reconstruction, reorganisation or winding-up’

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Hipgnosis shareholders have overwhelmingly voted against continuation, the proposed £440m sale of a portion of its portfolio, and the re-election of chair Andrew Sutch at an AGM and EGM held this morning (26 October).

While 83.2% of investors voted against continuation, it does not automatically trigger a winding-up process. Instead, the trust’s board now has six months to put forward proposals for reconstruction or reorganisation.

“These proposals may or may not involve winding-up the company or liquidating all or part of the company’s existing portfolio of investments,” the board said.

See also: Hipgnosis rival suitors ‘could not justify’ paying higher price than Blackstone-backed bid

Meanwhile, 71.5% of investors voted against chair Sutch’s re-election, though he was already due to step down next year.

Sylvia Coleman, senior independent director of Hipgnosis Songs Fund, said: “The board and the investment adviser have each engaged widely with investors over recent months. While shareholders have not supported our proposed transaction or the continuation vote, it is clear that they share our belief in the inherent quality and potential of these assets.

“The directors are now expediting the appointment of a new chair who will drive the strategic review we have already announced, with a clear focus on delivering improved shareholder value.”

Prior to the vote, Hipgnosis investor Asset Value Investors (AVI) had urged shareholders to vote against the portfolio sale to Hipgnosis Songs Capital, which AVI executive director Tom Treanor labelled a “truly dreadful deal for shareholders”.

On the eve of the AGM (25 October), Hipgnosis directors Andrew Wilkinson and Paul Burger announced their resignation. They were facing re-election votes at the AGM, which were withdrawn.

See also: Stifel analysts warn of ‘breakdown’ between Hipgnosis board and manager as trust launches strategic review

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