Darktrace boss snaps up shares after sell-off

Darktrace boss snaps up £100,000 of shares in tech firm, in vote of confidence following short-seller attack earlier this week

Vote of confidence: Poppy Gustafsson purchased 48,000 ordinary shares

Vote of confidence: Poppy Gustafsson purchased 48,000 ordinary shares

The boss of Darktrace has snapped up £100,000 of shares in the tech firm, in a vote of confidence following a short-seller attack earlier this week.

Poppy Gustafsson purchased 48,000 ordinary shares in the cybersecurity company on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old chief executive bought the shares at an aggregate price of 2.254 pounds per share, the equivalent of £108,000 in total.

It comes after the Cambridge-based FTSE 250 firm defended itself against claims that it fabricated clients in an endeavour to inflate sales figures.

A report from the New-York based short-seller Quintessential Capital Management, published on Tuesday, claimed that Darktrace had used irregular accounting practices. The company was accused by the US hedge fund of simulating sales to ‘phantom’ customers through a ‘network of willing resellers’ and possibly misrepresenting the nature of its revenue.

Gustafsson called the allegations ‘unfounded inferences’ on Wednesday, while the firm launched a £75m share buyback.

The boss added that she would ‘push back in the strongest terms on any suggestions that this is a business that is not being run with the greatest integrity’.

She continued: ‘Our technology is world-class, created here in the UK by some of the brightest minds, and we are solving one of society’s most pressing challenges – the terrible costs of cyber disruption.’

The company would also ‘continue to address any legitimate questions that may arise’, she said. Darktrace made a blockbuster debut on the London Stock Exchange in April 2021.

But its valuation has since been hit, plunging 40 per cent in the past year. Following the short-seller assault, Darktrace’s share price fell to below its 250p flotation in 2021.

Shares nudged higher yesterday, closing at 243.1p, but still below its listing price.

In a note, broker Jefferies, which led Darktrace’s public offering, said the firm had issued a ‘robust rebuttal’ that answered many of Quintessential’s points.

Cathy Graham’s arrival as chief financial officer before its market debut had strengthened processes to ensure it had legitimate financial systems, the broker added.

As part of its listing, Darktrace reviewed contracts and did not include those that failed to come up to scratch.

These were ‘small in number’ and should ‘give investors comfort’ on its annual recurring revenue, Jefferies said.

source: dailymail.co.uk