Morrison’s top shareholder Silchester hands partners £110m windfall

Morrisons

Kingmaker’s £110m payday: Morrisons’ largest shareholder hands partners huge windfalls in the pandemic

The secretive investment company that will act as kingmakers in the fight for the future of Morrisons handed £111million to its partners in the pandemic.

Silchester International Investors, the supermarket’s largest shareholder with a 15 per cent stake, announced its 17 bosses will walk away with the hefty pay packet days before the takeover battle began.

Silchester keeps a low profile but two years ago it rebelled against the controversial private equity takeover of British defence giant Cobham, saying the initial offer was ‘not compelling’. 

Morrisons' largest shareholder Silchester International Investors announced its 17 bosses will walk away with the hefty pay packet days before the takeover battle began

Morrisons’ largest shareholder Silchester International Investors announced its 17 bosses will walk away with the hefty pay packet days before the takeover battle began

Its annual accounts, published earlier this month, revealed it handed out £110.8million to partners in the year to March 2021, compared with £117million a year earlier, after profits declined to £186million from £196million the previous year.

The beneficiaries at the London-based firm include its multi-millionaire founder Stephen Butt, whose wealth was estimated to be £725million two years ago, earning him a place in the top 200 richest Britons.

Silchester’s accounts revealed that co-founder Michael Cowan, who worked at Morgan Stanley, and another director Tim Linehan also took a share of a £42.6million dividend paid by Silchester’s parent company.

Its assets under management increased from £26billion to £31.5billion over the year – with US investment firms making up the bulk of its investors – and it has a strategy of taking a chunky stake of up to a fifth in firms outside the US. 

It currently invests in Jupiter, Man Group and publisher Pearson. Silchester declined to comment.

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