Archie Norman receives £1.75m fee to join board of private equity firm

The chairman of Marks & Spencer, Archie Norman, has received a fee of £1.75m to join the board of Bridgepoint, the newly floated private equity company.

Bridgepoint only revealed the large payments to Norman and other new directors on Wednesday deep into a prospectus document detailing the company’s initial public offering (IPO), which has taken advantage of huge demand for private equity investments despite its controversial business model.

Other insiders at Bridgepoint received an average payout of £2.3m as they sold shares amid strong demand for the company stock. Bridgepoint shares rose in value by 29% on their first day of trading, adding to the wealth of those who had retained a stake in the London-headquartered company.

It floated at 350p on Wednesday morning but surged to 452p by the close of the day, giving it a valuation of £3.7bn, well above the £2bn initially expected.

Private equity firms are enjoying booming business as pension funds and other big institutional investors look for ways to increase the returns they make amid historically low interest rates. Bridgepoint manages investments worth £27bn, including stakes in the restaurant group Itsu, the online cycling specialist Wiggle and the UK arm of Burger King.

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Norman, who on Wednesday warned that Northern Irish shops would face gaps on the shelves because of Brexit, received the £1.75m as an “initial fee”. He was required to use the after-tax proceeds of £962,500 to buy Bridgepoint shares, which were worth £1.24m by the end of Wednesday. He will also receive £200,000 a year in remuneration for the role.

Three other new directors received signing-on fees of £500,000 each before tax.

Frédéric Pescatori, a partner who was head of Bridgepoint in France and southern Europe, held the largest individual stake in the company before the IPO. He sold shares worth about £16.5m but retained a 2.3% stake worth £85m on Wednesday evening.

Other sellers included Dyal – a part of Blue Owl Capital that invests in other investors – which sold shares worth £109m. It remained the largest single shareholder, retaining a stake that was worth nearly £600m by the end of Wednesday.


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