Freud is set for an early pay-off as YouGov promises divi

The purchase by PR man Matthew Freud of a 3 per cent stake in YouGov a month ago already looks as if it is starting to pay off, as the online polling firm said it plans its first dividend – seven years after it floated.

Others to benefit include co-founders Stephan Shakespeare, the chief executive, and Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, who each have stakes worth close to 11 per cent.

"We're populists and we give people what they want," joked Mr Shakespeare, who said a 12 per cent rise in like-for-like revenues to £30m in the last six months meant that YouGov felt able to pay a dividend at the end of the financial year.

Mr Shakespeare was also bullish about YouGov's new social media analysis tool, called SoMa, which creates "robust and meaningful data" to help corporate clients understand "the noise" on sites such as Twitter.

The firm had a pre-tax profit before exceptionals of £2.2m.