Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine Entertainment has disposed of 700,000 ordinary shares worth $1.39 million in the media company, citing “personal tax obligations arising from previous share issues”. Marks, who took the top position in 2015, sold off the shares between September 2-6, according to a statement to the ASX, for values between $1.9504 and $2.00 per share.
NEC last traded at $2.01 and the market capitalisation upon closing was $3.427 billion. He now holds 2,250,580 shares in the company directly, including the shares recently issued under Nine’s incentive plans, as well as 282,280 indirectly. Moreover, 1,543,699 performance rights are available, subject to meeting specific vesting conditions.
Following the merger with Fairfax last year, Marks had a fixed renumeration of approximately $1.4 million, according to last month’s 2019 financial year results for Nine, reaching a total of $4,937,638 taking bonuses and incentives into account, which is roughly 1.7% less than the previous year.
This comes a week after the Nine boss hosted a corporate fundraiser for the Liberal Party on the set of Today, at its Willoughby headquarters in
Sydney, which reportedly cost $10,000 per head and was attended by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. After the controversy, Marks told James Chessell, group executive editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Brisbane Times, that hosting the political fundraiser was a “mistake” and that it “could have been handled better”.
Nine gave investors some attractive numbers in the 2019 financial year, including $1.848 billion in revenue, up 40% from the previous financial year and total dividends per share were 10 cents, an 11% increase from the 2018 financial year. Furthermore, Nine’s rival, Seven West Media last traded at $0.405 with a market capitalisation of $610.75 million.