Burberry Shares Slide After Belgian Billionaire Sells Stake

Shares in Burberry Group were down 7.7 percent to 17.4 pounds ($23.6) in early-morning trading on Wednesday after Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, the investment holding company, announced it had sold its 6.6 percent stake in the British brand.

GBL, which is owned by the Belgian billionaire Albert Frère and his family, had begun stockpiling shares in Burberry in March 2017. The company confirmed Wednesday that it had sold 27.6 million shares for approximately 498 million pounds.

Ian Gallienne and Gérard Lamarche, co-CEOs of GBL, said the sale “allows GBL to achieve a capital gain of approximately 83 million pounds. This capital gain will not impact GBL’s consolidated net result, and proceeds from the disposal will be redeployed into other investments, in line with GBL’s portfolio diversification strategy.”

The stake in Burberry sold by GBL represented approximately 3 percent of GBL’s most recently disclosed net asset value. The private placement was managed by Goldman Sachs.

GBL’s stock price on Wednesday morning following the announcement was 93.5 euros ($111).

As reported, GBL had begun investing in Burberry when Christopher Bailey was nearing the end of his tenure as CEO. A few months later, after new CEO Marco Gobbetti made his first remarks about the company, GBL increased its stake once again.

GBL has a net asset value of 19 billion euros and, according to its website, is focused on long-term value creation. Its portfolio includes Adidas and Pernod Ricard.

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