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