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Barclays shares fall after top investor offloads $1.2 billion stake

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Barclays bank building is seen at Canary Wharf in London, Britain May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

By Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) -Shares in Barclays (LON:BARC) fell as much as 6% in early trading on Tuesday, after one of its top investors offloaded stock roughly equivalent to a 3% stake in the lender.

An unnamed investor launched a sales process for 575 million shares on Monday evening, facilitated by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

The offering was priced at 150 pence on Tuesday, towards the top of the target range of 147.50 pence to 150.75 pence, but this still represented a discount greater than 6% to Monday’s closing price, heaping pressure on the share price.

Barclays shares opened down around 6%, near the sale price, before clawing back some ground. The stock was last down 4.3% at 153.5 pence at 0727 GMT.

Top shareholders with around a 3% stake in Barclays include the Qatar Investment Authority and Blackrock (NYSE:BLK), according to Refiniv Eikon data. Blackrock declined to comment when approached by Reuters on Monday, while QIA was not immediately available for comment.

The sale comes as Barclays grapples with a fresh compliance and risk mis-step, after it disclosed an estimated 450 million pound ($589 million) loss on Monday due to overselling structured products in the United States.

The disclosure had already pressured Barclays’ stock this week, leading to a 4% fall on Monday.

Barclays also said it would have to delay a planned 1 billion pound share buyback because of the loss, which it will have to incur as a result of buying back the securities in question at their original purchase price.

The regulatory blunder is an early test for C.S. Venkatakrishnan, the newly-appointed chief executive of Barclays, whose previous roles included heading the bank’s global markets and risk operations.

($1 = 0.7640 pounds)

Barclays shares fall after top investor offloads stake

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