Parthus directors to use first chance to sell shares

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Directors and institutional investors, including Goldman Sachs, were preparing yesterday to offload shares in the Irish microchip platform designer Parthus Technologies as part of a follow-on share offering of about $200m (£139m) that is being considered by the company.

Directors and institutional investors, including Goldman Sachs, were preparing yesterday to offload shares in the Irish microchip platform designer Parthus Technologies as part of a follow-on share offering of about $200m (£139m) that is being considered by the company.

The lock-up period for Parthus shareholders ends on 12 November, six months after May's IPO. A number of investors and management are planning to use the opportunity to dispose of shares, in the latest example of investors selling out from new technology companies soon after flotation. The sale is expected within the next quarter depending on market conditions.

Deborah Ardern-Jones, a company spokeswoman, declined to say yesterday which of Parthus' management team would be selling "a small proportion" of their holdings. Brian Long, the chief executive, is the largest shareholder with 23 per cent of the company. Peter McManamon, chief financial officer, holds 6 per cent and chairman Michael Pierce owns 3.8 per cent. None were available for comment yesterday.

Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, which managed the original IPO, yesterday did not put a figure on how many of its 89 million shares, constituting a 17 per cent holding, it would sell in the new offering.

Last month Bookham Technologies completed a similar offering of £478m just five months after flotation, with its founder Andrew Rickman cashing in shares worth £41m.

Parthus said it wanted to enable "an orderly sale by existing shareholders" but said all shareholders remained "fully committed" to Parthus.

Shares in Parthus, which last week unveiled the new mobile-internet chip Infostream it has licensed to Psion, fell 11 per cent to 266.5p, valuing the company at £1.43bn.

In May, Parthus sold 111 million shares in its $164m IPO and listed on Nasdaq and in London. The new offering would comprise "principally secondary shares to be sold by financial investors and by management", it confirmed yesterday. It would include a further 180-day lock-up for sellers after the proposed sale, the company said yesterday.

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