The Wellcome Trust Flotation Dossier

December 1983-June 1990
Part of:
Wellcome Trust Corporate Archive
  • Archives and manuscripts

Collection contents

About this work


27 volumes of information relating to the planning and implementation of the first Wellcome plc share sale in 1986.
- Volume 1 is The Report and introduces the reader to the dossier by way of a short summary of events. Volume 1 contains a complete set of indices for volumes 1 to 28.

- Volumes 2 thru 19 contain original documents and photocopies relating to the flotation. The documents are filed chronologically from back to front. Each index is also chronological and starts with the document at the back of the file. Thus the most recent document is at the front of volume 19 and the oldest at the back of volume 2.

- Volume 20 contains photocopies of press cuttings relevant to the flotation.

- Volumes 21 thru 25 are bound reports.

- Volumes 26 thru 28 are the Touche Ross Long Form reports.

Each volume is indexed and contains a glossary of abbreviations. The volumes include correspondence and summaries of conversations between the Trustees and their lawyers and financial advisers; correspondence with the Wellcome Foundation and the Charity Commission; reports; press cuttings; draft and signed versions of legal documents and other papers relating to the flotation. They cover:

- The waiver of the provisions of Henry Wellcome’s will

- The consent of the Charity Commission and the creation of a Scheme enabling the Trust to sell a percentage of the Foundation

- Re-organisation prior to the flotation and the creation of the Wellcome plc holding company

- Allocations of shares to employees of the Wellcome group and the Trust

- Future additional issues of shares

- The scope, content and phrasing of the offer for sale agreement and other legal documents

- Marketing of the flotation

- Underwriting arrangements

- The Trustees’ personal liability and insurance

- The creation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and the Trust

- The sale of the Wellcome Building from the Foundation to the Trust

A note on dating:

The title of each volume reflects the dates of the documents contained within, i.e. Volume 2 contains records created between December 1983 and December 1984. The date field for each volume ends slightly later at June 1990, the date that the volumes were compiled and the indices created.


December 1983-June 1990

Physical description

Approx 14 boxes

Biographical note

From 1936 to 1986 the Wellcome Trust was the sole owner of the Wellcome Foundation, the pharmaceutical company left by Sir Henry Wellcome when he died. The Wellcome Trust was established by Wellcome's will in order to use profits from the company to support research into medical advances and the history of medicine.
In December 1983, with Sir David Steel as Chairman, the Trustees decided that the future of the Wellcome Trust would be would be more secure if it had income from sources other than the company. The Trustees consulted with lawyers and financial advisers throughout 1984 before approaching the Charity Commission, who approved a scheme that would enable the Trust to sell a percentage of the Foundation. A public holding company, Wellcome plc, was created and floated on the London Stock Exchange on 14 February 1986 at a price of 120 pence per share and just over 25 per cent of the Trust's shares in the pharmaceutical company were sold, raising £200 million. The Trust used the proceeds to diversify its income.
A second share sale took place in July 1992 (see WT/B/1/4) and in 1995 the Wellcome Trust sold most of its remaining interest in Wellcome plc to Glaxo plc, allowing a takeover to form Glaxo Wellcome Plc (now GlaxoSmithKline).

For more information about the creation of the dossier see WT/D/1/6/8.

For more information about Wellcome plc share sales see WT/B/8/4/6.

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