Publish date

7 July 2016

Reflections on a business owner’s sale of company shares to fund a divorce

Joanna Pratt, Partner from our family department speaks to global wealth management reporter WeathBriefing and discusses a case in which a business owner sold a large block of shares in a company to fund a divorce settlement.

In March 2016, judgment was delivered by the High Court following a contentious, and very expensive, battle between Nick Robertson, one of the co-founders of ASOS, and his former wife. In round figures, Mr Robertson was ordered to pay a figure of £70 million ($92.1 million) to his former wife, amounting to one third of his total fortune.

Mr and Mrs Robertson agreed that she would receive or retain certain properties and assets, which left a lump sum payable to her by Mr Robertson of just over £30 million, being the balance of the £70 million ordered by the judge. To raise that £30 million, Mr Robertson either needed to sell some properties, dispose of part of his shareholding in ASOS, or a combination of the two.

Joanna says, “For an individual who has a significant shareholding in a private limited company, realising the inherent value of the company is not always quick or straightforward. Equally, the sale of property portfolios is not necessarily quick or easy.”

“The one positive after the divorce for Mr Robertson is that he still has a 6.6 per cent shareholding in ASOS, remains a non-executive director, and will no doubt continue to influence the future of the company.”

The full article is available to read online to those who pay a subscription to WealthBriefing, first published on 6 July 2016: Reflections On Business Owner’s Sale Of Company Shares To Fund Divorce

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