Sir Anthony O’Reilly reduces INM stake to below 3%

Disposal would have been worth at least €1.3m

Sir Anthony O’Reilly has been gradually winding down his stake in INM since losing control of the business in 2012. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

Sir Anthony O’Reilly has been gradually winding down his stake in INM since losing control of the business in 2012. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

 

Sir Anthony O’Reilly has reduced his shareholding in Independent News & Media (INM), a company he controlled for almost 40 years, to below 3 per cent. Taking his stake below this level means he will no longer be obliged to disclose any further INM share sales to the stock market.

The latest sale took place on February 20th, at which point Sir Anthony had owned 50.2 million INM shares or 3.63 per cent of the company through an investment vehicle called Indexia Holdings.

The regulatory announcement lodged with the Irish Stock Exchange does not indicate how many shares Sir Anthony sold last week or what price was secured for the stock.

However, taking his stock below 3 per cent would have involved selling a minimum of 8.65 million shares. With INM’s stock trading at about 15 cent on February 20th, this indicates Sir Anthony’s disposal would have been worth at least €1.3 million.

Sir Anthony has been gradually winding down his stake in INM since losing control of the business in 2012. On February 5th, Indexia sold 19 million shares in INM via a placing handled by Davy.

This run-down in his INM holding followed a lengthy battle for control of the media group with businessman Denis O’Brien that involved Sir Anthony spending about €350 million trying to ward off his rival.

The former billionaire has been gradually selling off assets to repay creditors since AIB secured a judgment against him last year. This has included the sale of his long-time family home at Castlemartin, while it was also confirmed recently that ACC Bank, part of Rabobank, had taken control of more than a third of Sir Anthony’s 15.4 per cent stake in Providence Resources, an Irish-listed exploration company.

Sir Anthony was once INM’s biggest shareholder. INM’s major investors are now Mr O’Brien at 29.8 per cent; IIU Nominees, which is controlled by financier Dermot Desmond, at 15 per cent; UK-based Polar Capital LLP at 4.69 per cent; and Marathon Asset Management at 4.32 per cent.

No comment was available from either INM or Sir Anthony.