Sainsbury CEO Coupe Gets Over Gaffe With $2.4 Million Payout

(Bloomberg) -- When J Sainsbury Plc Chief Executive Officer Mike Coupe was caught on camera last week singing “We’re in the Money,” he was right about one thing.

Following Sainsbury’s $10 billion deal to acquire Walmart Inc.’s Asda, Coupe has received 608,700 shares as part of the company’s long-term incentive plan, according to a stock-exchange filing Tuesday. Helped by the 15 percent surge in Sainsbury’s stock on the day the deal was announced, they’re now worth a handy 1.8 million pounds ($2.4 million).

Coupe’s absentminded harmonizing was captured by a hot microphone as he was preparing for a television interview after a weekend spent thrashing out the deal’s details. He described it as an “unguarded moment trying to compose myself,” after hearing the song during a performance of the musical “42nd Street.” But the gaffe went viral, becoming a lightning rod for the U.K. politicians, suppliers and trade unions lining up to criticize the proposed takeover.

Of the shares he was awarded, Coupe immediately sold 286,663. That was to meet a tax liability, a Sainsbury spokeswoman said, adding that share awards took place at the same time every year.

Coupe is set to lead the combined business, so shareholders can only hope he stays in the money for a while.

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