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IWG founder sells £68.5m of shares to repay bank loan




Mark Dixon, the founder and CEO of IWG, has sold a substantial stake in the serviced branch business, worth £68.5 million, to repay a bank loan. Despite the sale, Dixon, 64, still retains a 25.2% stake in the company.

Dixon sold 35 million shares for just under 196 cents each through Estorn Limited, his wholly owned investment vehicle. The shares were pledged as collateral for a Deutsche Bank loan taken out in December, details of which were not disclosed.

The sale, carried out by IWG’s largest shareholder, caused an uproar among investors, leading to a significant drop in IWG’s share price. Shares fell 14¼p, or 6.9%, to 192¾p in afternoon trading, marking their worst performance since March last year.

Using shares as collateral is a common practice among wealthy entrepreneurs. High-profile examples include Elon Musk, who has used Tesla stock for personal loans, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, and Adam Neumann, co-founder of WeWork, a rival to IWG. Previously, Dixon had pledged shares in Regus, IWG’s predecessor, for a £7.7 million loan from Merrill Lynch, repaid in June 2009.

Dixon founded IWG in 1989, starting with an office in Brussels to accommodate executives needing temporary office space. The company has since expanded and operates 3,500 offices in 120 countries. Post-pandemic, Dixon IWG shifted to a “capital light” model, partnering with landlords to manage office spaces rather than owning or leasing them directly. This approach reflects the strategy of Marriott, which manages rather than owns hotels.

Over the years, Dixon has sold hundreds of millions of pounds worth of IWG shares, including a £27.5 million sale in 2005 to settle a divorce. After the latest sale, Dixon’s remaining stake in IWG is valued at around £490 million. The most recent Sunday Times Rich List estimated Dixon’s wealth at £923 million, making him the 177th richest person in Britain.