‘Google-wash­ing’ ven­ture to cash in with Lon­don float

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

A COM­PANY that spe­cialises in search en­gine ma­nip­u­la­tion, set up by a fund man­ager tar­geted by on­line trolls, is clos­ing in on a Lon­don stock mar­ket float.

Swiss in­vestor Al­fredo Villa said he plans to float his busi­ness, Right of Re­ply, on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change within the next three months, mean­ing it could be one of the first com­pa­nies to list in the UK af­ter Brexit. All of his shares are owned by a Swiss char­ity.

The com­pany, which has hired City firm Stan­ford Cap­i­tal Part­ners to ad­vise on the process, was cre­ated to help peo­ple deal with rep­u­ta­tional dam­age on­line by giv­ing them a tool to re­spond.

The list­ing comes amid a dis­pute over Google’s “right to be for­got­ten” rule, un­der which peo­ple can re­quest for per­sonal in­for­ma­tion to be re­moved from on­line list­ings.

Mr Villa’s spokesman said he set up Right of Re­ply in 2017 fol­low­ing “a lot of in­ter­net chat­ter” on chat rooms and so­cial me­dia that he was un­able to counter. The crit­i­cism fol­lowed an in­vestor is­sue at Clear Leisure, the in­vest­ment firm he used to run.

The firm will be is­su­ing new shares to raise £5m-£6m for a free float of about 20pc of the com­pany.

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