Investors may exit early

A sharp fall in share price suggests an early exit for investors

Online booking agent faces losing its early investors this week as the lock-up extensions agreed by the company in September expire.

Concern centres around the 17 percent stake that founders Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman hold. It has been locked-up for 180 days since the company's flotation in March but many are worried the pair will sell their shares pushing the company's share price lower.

"As you approach the end of a lock-in agreement, a concern that the company directors have the opportunity to sell some of their shares arises. This puts pressure on the downside, as the market will see it as an indication of negativity," said Drew Edmonstone, institutional sales director at Internet research group Durlacher.

Early investors such as Arts Alliance and Global Retail Partners agreed to hold on to 90 percent of their holdings in September for a further three months in order to avoid uncontrolled selling. share prices have more than halved to 81.5p since the lock-up extensions were agreed, putting the company's value at around £139m.

Investors are concerned about the expiry of lock-ups, as a sharp drop in share prices could result from new shares entering the market.

Hoberman and Fox have announced that they have no plans to sell any of their combined stake in the company. "The managers need to prove that they are not seeking an easy buck," said Edmonstone.

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