The founder of eponymous London-listed fashion brand Joules is set to face a fresh challenge at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, over a board proposal that could increase his own stake in the retailer.
Independent shareholder advisory firm ISS encouraged investors in a report ahead of the meeting to vote against the board's proposal to waive a rule that would allow Tom Joule to raise his personal stake to as much as 36 per cent, citing concerns of Joule’s “creeping control” over the business.
Joule, who currently retains a position on the company’s board as its chief brand officer, currently holds a 32 per cent stake in the retailer which is worth roughly £90m.
The rule waiver would also exempt Joule from having to declare the move as a full takeover, should the company execute a share buyback from investors or award Joule more shares as part of a bonus scheme.
A statement from Joules' board said it has "no present intention" of exercising the right to buy back more shares, "but will keep the matter under review, taking into account other investment opportunities".
It added: "The authority would only be exercised if and when, in the light of market conditions prevailing at the time, they believe that the effect of such purchases will be in the best interests of shareholders generally."
Joules floated on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market in 2016, and currently holds a market value of £278.3m.