JD Wetherspoon founder gets some more in

A round-up of the biggest director deals today so far.

Tim Martin, non-executive chairman of JD Wetherspoon, the pub group, has bumped up his stake in the company.

In one hell-of-a-large round, he bought around £2.5m-worth of shares in the popular pub chain.

Martin, who founded the business in 1979 and took on the role of chairman four years later, bought up 657,000 shares at 377.4377p each, parting with a total of £2,479,765 and taking his stake in the company to 26.56%.

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The company also announced that non-executive director Mark Reckitt took a stake in the company after paying £7,576.9m for 2,000 at 378.845p a pop.

The FTSE 250 firm has seen a 17% decline in its share price over the past year, equivalent to 77p. An 11% fall, equal to 45p, over the last four weeks was seen despite the company revealing that it 2012 had got off to a better start than expected with like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to April 22nd up by 2%.

George Culmer, the new Group Finance Director of Lloyds, the UK financial giant that is 41 per cent-owned by the UK tax payer, showed his faith in the company on Wednesday by immediately buying a £248,742 stake in the company.

Culmer joined the board from insurance group RSA, where he held the same role, on Wednesday in a deal estimated to be worth £5.86m, including a salary of £720,000.

The director's first purchase saw him take up 872,169 shares at 28.52p, significantly below the average price of 74p at which the government bought its stake in the bank.

On the same day, Investec reiterated its buy recommendation and 40p target price on the stock, saying that with NAV-per-share growth to 77p and return on equity reaching 9%, Investec's 12-month forward valuation gives a price target of 40% which should be "a source of encouragement for shareholders".

The share price is down 50% over the past year, equivalent to 27p.

Top Director Buys

Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW)

Director name: Mr Timothy Martin

Amount purchased: 657,000 @ 377.44p

Value: £2,479,781

Kofax (KFX)

Director name: Mr Greg Lock

Amount purchased: 60,000 @ 253.00p

Value: £151,800

Telecity Group (TCY)

Director name: Ms Sahar Elhabashi

Amount purchased: 7,500 @ 785.00p

Value: £58,875

Grainger (GRI)

Director name: Mr Nick Jopling

Amount purchased: 36,781 @ 98.40p

Value: £36,193

Ark Therapeutics Group (AKT)

Director name: Mr Peter Keen

Amount purchased: 750,000 @ 2.85p

Value: £21,375

Top Director Sells

Whitbread (WTB)

Director name: Mr Patrick Dempsey

Amount sold: 54,458 @ 1,850.49p

Value: £1,007,740