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John Walden to receive 5m if Sainsbury's-Home Retail Group deal completes

John Walden 725 x 500

Home Retail Group boss John Walden will be in line for a windfall of more than £5m in cash and shares if the owner of Argos is sold to Sainsbury’s.

It is not clear if Walden will stay on if Sainsbury’s finalises the £1.4bn takeover deal, but Home Retail Group’s annual report published on Tuesday revealed that in either case the chief executive would be able to cash in more than 650,000 shares and options, which are not subject to performance conditions.

Under the terms of Sainsbury’s takeover deal – which offers 0.321 Sainsbury’s shares and 55p in cash for every Home Retail Group share as well as a 25p windfall from the sale of the Homebase chain and a 2.8p dividend, that would be worth £1m.

Walden’s windfall could potentially be more than double that after he was awarded 785,000 shares and share options in May last year, which are subject to three-year performance criteria and worth £1.3m, and 143,000 which he received this year. He could also potentially cash in up to 1.4m more share options – which are due to vest if he meets performance criteria over the next two years – worth up to £2.3m.

Home Retail’s remuneration committee said it had not yet determined what would happen with bonuses and share awards linked to performance targets beyond the date of any takeover.

If he left the business, Walden would also be in line for a payout of at least £676,500; his basic annual salary after a 2% pay rise. He is also likely to receive a further £250,000 in lieu of benefits and pension payments.

In the year to the end of February 2016, Walden received a total pay package of £1.5m, down more than a third from the previous year. While his salary increased 6.4% to £663,000, his annual bonus and long-term share bonuses both dropped, cutting his total pay package by more than £900,000. He also sold more than 1.2m shares, worth nearly £2m, although the majority of that went to pay his tax bill on the share options he exercised over the year. Walden’s bonus payments dropped after he failed to hit maximum earnings per share and total shareholder return targets.

Sainsbury’s is hoping to complete its takeover of Home Retail Group this autumn but the deal could be delayed after the competition regulator said it was considering an investigation into the £1.4bn takeover.

The Competition and Markets Authority has set a deadline of 13 June for comments on the deal’s likely effects on consumers. It will decide by 25 July whether to launch a preliminary inquiry.

Source : Sarah Butler - The Guardian 

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01 June 2016

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