The agent trying to mobilise a ‘Vote No’ campaign to the proposal to float OnTheMarket on the stock exchange says he has had some dubious responses to his call to action.
Graeme Lumsden – a supporter of OTM but who is now concerned that the original principles are being ditched – told EYE last night that some of his contact has been from people purporting to be OTM members but who are not, leading him to query their motives.
Some responses to his ‘Vote No’ campaign, he said, look questionable, as though they are simply trying to find out further information.
However, Lumsden said that agents have clearly – and legitimately – expressed their dissent to the proposed stock market launch, which would hand shares to OTM boss Ian Springett, the management team and the board, while bringing new, external, investors on board.
Those who have contacted Lumsden have specifically agreed that their messages can be highlighted to EYE, but not the names of individuals or their agencies.
One message to Lumsden said: “I have asked a number of questions and have been promised answers which I have not received. I was at the first meeting and when the questions got more interesting we got cut off.
“I am very unhappy about the float. It is short-sighted.
“[There is to be a] 20% float. Board gets newly 20%. Agents could sell 10% and then another 10%. When the five years are over we could already be in a position that over 50% is publicly owned e.g. only profit counts. The agents will have no more say – whatever promises we get now.
“I asked what will happen if I vote no.
“No comprehensive answer has been given. I get the shares but then can’t sign up for the new listing agreement any more. This is blackmail. These should be independent processes. Should 90% vote yes the other 10% should be able to sign too so max value can be achieved.
“I questioned the validity of the share options to the board. This was not explained to us at the outset when we signed up and Ian admitted that this was an agreement from the start with the founder agents. It becomes clear that this must have been his intention from the start. Why else would he have asked for this option from the outset? Is it legally correct to have hidden this information from us when we signed up? What would the FSA say?
“Alternatives have not been explained and explored sufficiently.
“The presentation was an insult to all the owners and directors present, treating us as if we have no idea what is going on and that we can be hood-winked into believing and signing it there and then.
“I will vote no, because we deserve more options and exploration into alternatives. I still believe in the project.”
Another message said: “I think this is being dealt with far too hastily without proper consultation with the members.”
EYE has asked a number of questions from OnTheMarket, having seen the papers sent out to members and also receiving considerable feedback from the roadshows.
The Vote No campaign website is here:
Separately a Facebook group for OTM members has been set up.
Group member applicants will be required to give their real name, trading name/company, trading address and OTM membership number before they will be allowed in.