(Corrects size of Qatar's UK holdings in paragraph 8)
LONDON/DUBAI, July 10 Sovereign wealth fund
Qatar Holding has sold 260.1 million pounds ($442.6 million)
worth of shares in London Stock Exchange Group (LSE), a
source familiar with the matter said on Thursday, ahead of the
LSE's impending $1.6 billion rights issue.
Qatar sold the shares at 1,915 pence each as part of its
portfolio management, the source said, adding that Qatar
remained a supportive shareholder of the LSE. The disposal
leaves Qatar with a stake of around 10.3 percent in the company.
The LSE is planning a rights issue of new stock to help fund
its $2.7 billion purchase of U.S. indexes and investment
management business Russell Group, the LSE's largest-ever
acquisition, which was announced in June.
Qatar could use the money raised to fund the purchase of
shares in the rights issue, to which it will be entitled because
of its remaining shareholding, a further two sources close to
the deal said.
The sale represents around 5 percent of the LSE's
The price of the accelerated share sale was made at a 2.1
percent discount to Wednesday's closing share price of 1,956
pence. The original price range was set at between 1,845 and
Shares in the LSE fell on Thursday and were last trading
down 2.1 percent at 1915 pence at 0816 GMT.
Qatar Holding said in a statement it did not expect to
dispose of any further LSE shares in the immediate future. The
fund's other British holdings include a 5 percent stake in
lender Barclays, almost 26 percent of retailer J
Sansbury and 1.8 percent of oil firm Shell.
Essa Kazim, chairman of Borse Dubai, the top shareholder in
LSE Group with a 20.5 percent stake, told Reuters last month
that the organisation was happy with the LSE's performance and
had no plans to raise or lower its stake.
Qatar's sale was run by Citi and BoA Merrill Lynch
($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Freya Berry and Clare Hutchison in London, with
Andrew Torchia in Dubai; Editing by David Holmes)