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Darktrace boss snaps up shares after sell-off

Vote of confidence: Poppy Gustafsson has purchased 48,000 common shares

Darktrace boss grabs £100,000 of shares in tech firm, in vote of confidence following short seller attack earlier this week

Vote of confidence: Poppy Gustafsson has purchased 48,000 common shares

Vote of confidence: Poppy Gustafsson has purchased 48,000 common shares

The Darktrace boss has bought back £100,000 of shares in the technology company, in a vote of confidence following a short seller attack earlier this week.

Poppy Gustafsson purchased 48,000 common shares of the cybersecurity company on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old chief executive bought the shares at an aggregate price of £2.254 per share, equivalent to £108,000 in total.

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It comes after the Cambridge-based FTSE 250 company defended itself against claims it fabricated customers in a bid to inflate sales figures.

A report from New York-based short seller Quintessential Capital Management released on Tuesday claimed that Darktrace used improper accounting practices. The company has been accused by the US hedge fund of simulating sales to “ghost” customers through a “voluntary dealer network” and possibly misrepresenting the nature of its earnings.

Gustafsson called the allegations “unsubstantiated inferences” on Wednesday as the company launched a £75million share buyback.

The boss added that she would ‘repel in the strongest terms any suggestion that this is a business that is not run with the utmost integrity’.

She continued: “Our technology is world class, created here in the UK by some of the brightest minds, and we are solving one of society’s most pressing challenges – the terrible costs of cyber disruption. “

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The company “will also continue to answer any legitimate questions that may arise,” she said. Darktrace made its successful debut on the London Stock Exchange in April 2021.

But its valuation has since been hit, plunging 40% last year. Following the onslaught of short sellers, Darktrace’s share price fell below its 250p IPO in 2021.

The shares rose yesterday, closing at 243.1p, but still below its listing price.

In a note, brokerage Jefferies, which led Darktrace’s public offering, said the company issued a “strong rebuttal” that addressed many of Quintessential’s points.

Cathy Graham’s arrival as CFO ahead of her market debut has strengthened processes to ensure she has legitimate financial systems, the broker added.

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As part of its list, Darktrace reviewed the contracts and did not include any that fell short.

These were “in small numbers” and should “reassure investors” about its recurring annual revenue, Jefferies said.

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