Divorce forces Sorrell to cash in £12m of WPP shares
LONDON – A costly divorce has forced Sir Martin Sorrell, the WPP Group chief executive, to cash in £12m of shares in the British advertising giant he created.
Sorrell will no doubt appreciate the irony in selling off some of his shares to fund the divorce after his globetrotting and the long hours spent building WPP were cited by Lady Sandra Sorrell as reasons behind the collapse in their marriage.
In October it was revealed that Sorrell faced a record £30m divorce settlement relating to the break-up of his marriage in 2003.
The split after 33 years saw her awarded a £3.25m Georgian townhouse, two Harrods underground car parking spaces worth £200,000, £2m in bank deposits, £23.4m in cash, plus thousands in stocks and shares.
Lady Sorrell blamed the divorce on the WPP chief's workaholic lifestyle and in divorce papers she said she felt "marginalised", that Sorrell had "dehumanised" and "discarded" her from his affections and took a mistress.
Despite the huge divorce settlement and the sell-off of shares, Sorrell still has an estimated £80m stake in WPP.
The cash will also be used to satisfy future awards to employees. In all Sorrell sold 1.9m shares at 627.5p each. The move reduce his stake in WPP to 13m shares, which represents around 1% of the company.
"The shares were acquired and retained by the WPP UK ESOP to be used to satisfy future share awards to employees of the WPP Group," WPP said in a statement.
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