Shares in publishing giant Future have fallen to their lowest level in more than two years following reports that its long-time boss is set to step down.
The FTSE 250 firm, which owns magazines such as Marie Claire and Country Life, fell 17.56 per cent, or 291p, to 1,366p after news that chief executive Zilla Byng-Thorne had told the group’s chairman , that she plans to retire within the next 18 years. months.
The company insisted that Bing-Thorn remained “committed to the business”, although it acknowledged that she had “informally indicated that she would like to step down before the end of 2023”.
Futures fell 16.3% after news chief executive Zilla Byng-Thorne (pictured) told the group’s chairman she plans to retire within the next 18 months
Bing-Thorne has led Future for nearly a decade and has led an acquisition spree that has seen the company snap up a number of media brands, bucking the trend of a traditionally cautious sector.
As well as its magazine titles, the firm also owns more e-commerce-focused brands such as price comparison service GoCompare.
But the executive director did not escape criticism from shareholders, some of whom complained about the size of her salary.
Earlier this year, investors voted down plans for a new share scheme which would have seen Bing-Thorne and other senior executives receive £95m.
Speculation about her departure follows a sharp fall in Future’s share price, which has fallen more than 60 percent this year as traders ditched digital and technology stocks amid fears for the global economy.
However, the stock is still up more than 1,500 percent since Byng-Thorne took over in 2014.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.61 percent, or 44.02 points, to 7,192.66, while the FTSE 250 fell 1.43 percent, or 269 points, to 18,528.14.
The stock watch is Boku
Shares in Boku rose after the mobile payments company struck a new deal with e-commerce giant Amazon.
The agreement, which has an initial term of three years, will see Boku process payments for its Amazon Prime Video subscription service from customers in parts of Southeast Asia and Africa.
The company will receive a percentage of Amazon’s revenue based on the value of each Prime Video transaction.
Shares rose 14.94 percent, or 11.5 pence, to 88.5 pence.
Traders were in a dour mood on the first day after the Queen’s state funeral, although the blue-chip index found some support from banking stocks ahead of further interest rate hikes expected from the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve. week, moves that are predicted to increase their profitability.
Shares in HSBC rose 0.85 per cent, or 4.5p, to 534.1p, while Lloyds added 2.5 per cent, or 1.2p, to 49p. Barclays was down 0.13 percent, or 0.22 points, at 170.92, NatWest was down 1.32 percent, or 3.6 points, at 269.3 and Standard Chartered was up 0.1 percent, or 0.6 points, to 602.8 points.
Also in the spotlight is the much-anticipated “mini-budget” from Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, which is expected to contain a raft of tax cuts as well as measures to protect households from steep electricity bills.
Despite gains earlier in the day, oil prices slipped into the red by the end of the session, with Brent crude below $91 a barrel, as energy traders worried about a slowdown in fuel demand caused by higher interest rates weighing on economic growth.
But Shell shares managed to gain, rising 0.26 percent, or 6 pence, to 2,302.5 pence, while BP rose 0.1 percent, or 0.45 pence, to 452.5 pence.
Moonpig fell 7.5 percent, or 15p, to 185p after the firm shifted its focus to greetings cards amid a sharp drop in the cost of living, moving away from its previous strategy of trying to push more profitable items such as gifts.
Despite rising concerns about consumer spending, the firm reaffirmed its guidance for the full year, adding that it expects to take about 60 percent of its revenue in the second half, which includes the peak holiday trading period at Christmas.
Food delivery group Ocado fell 9.63 per cent, or 64.6p, to 606.4p after analysts at HSBC downgraded the stock to ‘reduce’ from ‘hold’, warning that the company’s weak growth and smaller orders from customers are likely to “weigh heavily” on profits.
The investment bank also cut its price target on the shares to 575p from 1,000p, adding that cost pressures facing the firm could continue into next year.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow commercial relationships to influence our editorial independence.