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Tiny founder inspired by Warren Buffett sells, shares sink

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Tiny Ltd. lost about $80 million in market capitalization by the end of trading on Monday

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Canadian holding company Tiny Ltd. plunged 16 per cent on Monday after its founders stepped down as co-chief executives and one of them said he’d sell millions of shares.

Tiny mainly invests in internet companies. Last week it announced a new chief executive and said co-founders Andrew Wilkinson and Chris Sparling would become co-chairs of the board, adding they’d remain “actively involved.” A spokeswoman said they have no intention of stepping away from the company.

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On Friday, a filing showed Wilkinson intends to sell as many as 3.1 million shares, or about 1.7 per cent of the company, worth about $8.4 million based on Friday’s closing price of $2.70 per share. That included a donation of shares to Wilkinson’s private foundation and gifts to family and former employees, according to a statement. Wilkinson still owns more than 60 per cent of Tiny, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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The company lost about $80 million in market capitalization by the end of trading on Monday, with trading volumes more than five times the three-month average.

“The majority of Wilkinson’s wealth is still in Tiny, and most of those shares were transferred to the Tiny Foundation, as well as to early Metalab and other employees,” a spokeswoman for Tiny said of the share sale.

“This was pre-planned for a long time and discussed in Andrew’s upcoming book, Never Enough, where he details his decision to give back to early employees who contributed meaningfully to the success of the company.”

Regarding the change in chief executive to Jordan Taub, the company pointed to Wilkinson’s previous statement that Taub has “proven himself to be an exceptional leader” and that the change enables him and Chris to focus on relationships with founders, sourcing acquisitions and setting the company’s long-term vision.

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Wilkinson has sought to liken his investment style to that of Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and recently published an autobiographical book titled Never Enough: From Barista to Billionaire. His backers have included billionaire hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman.

In its first-quarter results last month, Tiny posted revenue of $49 million and an operating loss of $4.3 million. It carries $136 million in debt.

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Before that, its fourth-quarter earnings in April were described as “lacklustre” in a research note from Canaccord Genutiy Group Inc. analysts led by Robert Young. Some $3.3 million of losses on sales of subsidiaries last year “undermine the argument that Tiny’s investment record has been successful,” they said.

The CEO of one of Tiny’s bigger portfolio companies, Dribbble Holdings Ltd., also stepped down in April, after seven years, according to his LinkedIn page.

Bloomberg.com

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