The online travel business announced its intention to withdraw from US technology market Nasdaq last week because of the increased cost burden of complying with onerous regulation.
‘The more the cost of complying with that regulation goes up with no benefit then one starts asking “what the hell do we have it for?”,’ David Howell, chief financial officer at Lastminute.com, told Accountancy Age. ‘I know of lots and lots of organisations with dual-listing that are questioning “what the hell have we got this for and how can we get rid of it?”.’
‘In my view they’ve just gone too far. Sarbanes-Oxley came in, and we lived with that, then you’ve got this new Section 404 coming in and it’s all ending up with a box-ticking exercise for all of our corporate governance.’
He said discussions with the company’s lawyers had been ongoing for between nine and 12 months and that the increased regulation had added up to an extra £1.5m annual compliance burden. Lastminute.com also intends to terminate its reporting obligations under the US Securities Exchange Act.
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