UK online sports betting firm Sportingbet boss Andrew McIver and finance director Jim Wilkinson are about to receive a healthy payout if William Hill succeeds in its GBP 530 million bid to acquire the company.
According to the British gambling news, McIver and Wilkinson are to receive two years’ worth of salary, pension payments plus bonuses if they leave the firm after the successful takeover.
The executive payout deal is highly controversial because it is against the UK corporate governance that clearly states the notice of contract periods should be one year or less.
Andrew McIver’s severance package is valued at GBP 2.4 million based on two years’ worth of pension payments and benefits and a maximum possible bonus according to the British gambling laws. He also holds 3 million shares in Sportingbet, currently worth around GBP 1.9 million.
Shareholders highly resist Sportingbet’s executive packages. Last year, 24.4 percent of investors voted against a new executive remuneration plan.
Sportingbet commented on the controversial deal: “The contracts were drawn up before the company had obtained a premium listing, at a time when it was not bound by the code. The board does not believe there would be a benefit to shareholders, on balance, in renegotiating the contracts at this time.”
The shareholder group Pirc opposes Sportingbet’s opinion, saying: “These contract provisions are well out of line with best practice, which is why we, along with other shareholders, opposed the company’s remuneration report last year. “
Pirc added: “The fact that these provisions could now result in a sizable payout to directors in the event of being taken over shows why they should have been challenged earlier.”