THG Holdings plc’s (LON:THG) founder Matthew Moulding had made a fortune with the online retail group since its inception in 2004.

The Hut Group was valued at £5.4bn in the largest IPO London has seen in years, with shares issued at 500p a pop and a bumper £700mln pay-out for Moulding.

READ: The Hut Group races to premium on first day of trading

The stock was already trading at nearly 630p on Wednesday, its first day on the London Stock Exchange.

According to the company’s prospectus, Moulding – who is both chief executive and chairman –  controlled 25.7% of the fully diluted share capital as of last December 31.

However, he sold shares worth £54mln earlier this month despite its advisers reassured he would hold onto his stake, The Times reported.

His stake remains around 25% and he would not be able to own more than 25.1%, a spokesperson for THG told Proactive.

Behind the scenes

The sale was made through his new investment vehicle FIC Shareco, which offloaded 10.8mln shares at 500p each to partially fund a restructuring.

Following the restructuring, Moulding will own the group’s property and receive at least £19mln in rent per year.

Moulding and his wife, Jodie Moulding, also put their stakes in the business as collateral for a £100mln loan for FIC Shareco, with Barclays snapping up 18.8% interest in the business if the loan defaults.

“Eyebrows have been raised over some governance issues attached to the stock including the fact management are incentivised on share price performance,” noted Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“In addition the limited free float and founder share held by Matthew Moulding prevent the shares from qualifying for inclusion in FTSE indices.”

Moulding founded the company in 2004 with the idea of selling DVDs online, then grew it to an empire of popular brands such as My Protein and Illamasqua, hotels and SPAs across 169 countries.

Just like grocery superstar Ocado, THG signs up big brands such as Nestle and Proctor & Gamble to its e-commerce fulfilment platform Ingenuity.