Tiffany stake becomes QIA’s latest cut
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund sold a block of shares in luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. weeks after reducing stakes in Credit Suisse Group AG and Rosneft PJSC.
The Qatar Investment Authority sold 4.4 million shares in a block sale valued at as much as $417 million via Morgan Stanley, according to a statement provided to Bloomberg by the U.S. bank on behalf of the holder. The fund still holds a stake of 9.5 percent after the sale through subsidiary Qatar Holding USA LLC, according to the statement. The shares were offered at $94.40-$94.75 and priced at the bottom of that range, a 1.62 percent discount from the prior closing price, a person familiar with the process said.
The sale comes after the QIA reduced its direct shareholding in Credit Suisse to 4.94 percent in August – the fund’s first reported sale of shares in the Swiss bank since 2008. The QIA and Glencore Plc last week also agreed to sell most of the stakes they purchased in Rosneft in December. Closely held CEFC China Energy Co. will pay about $9 billion for most of the shares they purchased in December, leaving the Qatar fund with a 4.7 percent holding.
The QIA, which was created to handle the windfall from the world’s largest liquefied natural gas export base, plans to spend most of what remains of its $45 billion investment target on U.S. investments as it seeks to diversify its assets, Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani said Wednesday. The fund, which has amassed a $320 billion portfolio around the globe, has bought assets ranging from British bank Barclays Plc to Total SA and Glencore Plc. It ranks as the ninth largest fund globally, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
The QIA has injected almost $40 billion, out of total reserves of $340 billion, to support its economy and financial system during the first two months of a diplomatic standoff with its Gulf neighbors, according to Moody’s Investors Service Ltd. The fund injected deposits into local banks to shore up liquidity as the ongoing Saudi-led campaign hurts lenders, people familiar with the matter said in June. Capital outflows from Qatari banks were about $30 billion in June and July, Moody’s said.
The QIA boosted its stake in Tiffany to 8.7 percent at the end of 2012, according to a 2013 regulatory filing. Tiffany shares closed down 1 percent at $95.51 on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar on June 5, accusing the nation of supporting Sunni extremist groups and Iranian-backed militants. Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges. The dispute pits U.S. allies against each other in a struggle over political dominance in a region that controls about a fifth of global oil supplies.
The QIA reportedly sold 4.4 million shares in the luxury jewelry retailer.