Belgian billionaire Albert Frère has offloaded his entire £500m stake in Burberry, just over one year after declaring his interest in the company.
Frère, via his holding company Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, first announced he had built up a stake of 3% in February 2017, which he subsequently increased to 4% and 6.6% later in the year.
In an announcement Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) said it has disposed of its entire stake via a private placement and would use the cash to fund other investments.
“The sale of 27.6 million Burberry shares for an amount of approximately GBP 498 million allows GBL to achieve a capital gain of approximately GBP 83 million. This capital gain will not impact GBL’s consolidated net result following the entry into force of IFRS 9. The proceeds from the disposal will be redeployed into other investments, in line with GBL’s portfolio diversification strategy,” said GBL co-CEOs Ian Gallienne and Gérard Lamarche.
GBL added that the stake sold in Burberry represented approximately 3% of its most recently disclosed net asset value. The group also owns a 7.5% stake in German sportswear giant adidas, among a diverse range of other investments.
Shares in Burberry dipped this morning on the back on the news and were trading at around £17.67 per share, down -6.2% on close of play yesterday.
Burberry has had an eventful year which has led to an almost complete change of guard at the top of the business. In July of last year Marco Gobbetti, formerly of Céline took over as CEO from Christopher Bailey, who assumed the role of president and chief creative officer. Gobbetti had joined the business in the January and was care-taking the APAC region while awaiting his formal appointment to the top job.
Bailey himself then announced he was standing down and showed his last collection for the house in February at London Fashion Week. After much speculation surrounding his successor, he was replaced by Riccardo Tisci, who had worked with Gobbetti at Givenchy.
The business is also due to formally appoint its new chairman Dr Gerry Murphy as its next annual shareholder meeting in July. Currently chairman designate, Murphy will take over from longstanding chairman Sir John Peace.