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 Zoopla’s founder Alex Chesterman execute with $34.2 million deal

Chesterman to sell shares worth $17.1 million as site sees growth in agent rebound.

Alex Chesterman

Zoopla Property Group PLC, the Internet home-search firm, has awarded its founder and CEO, Alex Chesterman, a pay of about £22 million ($34.2 million) , as the company stabilises after a turbulent period.

Mr Chesterman has also secured board approval to sell part of his stake in the company — roughly 1 per cent of its total share capital, and about a quarter of his holding — worth £11 million ($17.1 million).

The pay deal terms were revealed as the company gave a trading update.

Acording to Zoopla, U.K. estate agents have been returning to its website in a battle for Britain’s online house hunters.

Zoopla reported Wednesday that the number of agents listing homes on its website rose since April by 213 to 12, 556.

Just six months ago, Zoopla had more than 16, 000 agents advertising homes on its website. The figure dropped precipitously when a group of estate agents, frustrated with paying fees to Zoopla, Britain’s second-largest property website after and its rival , market leader Rightmove, to advertise properties online, launched rival website OnTheMarket in January.

Membership of OnTheMarket came with a rule: agents must pick to advertising on only one other portal, either Zoopla or Rightmove. But now some of those agents appear to be moving back.

The new pay package deal for Zoopla’s CEO means that the company must generate 8 per cent in total returns to shareholders before he receives any pay; above that, Mr Chesterman will earn share options at nil cost, up to a maximum of 7.5 million shares.

These options will not fully vest for four years and Mr Chesterman said he planned to stay at the company “for the long term”.

If the company’s share price grows at 9.5 per cent a year over the four years, Chesterman make £7.43 million ($11.5 million) from the pay deal; if the value of the company doubles in that time, that figure could rise to £22 million ($34.2 million).

The pay package has support from Zoopla’s major shareholders, the company said.

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