Kuwait Wealth Fund Sells €1.4 Billion of Mercedes Shares

(Bloomberg) — The Kuwait Investment Authority launched a sale of about 20 million shares in Mercedes-Benz Group AG — roughly a quarter of its stake — after the carmaker’s stock almost quadrupled over the last three years.

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The KIA will own around 53 million shares after completing the share placement, which is part of an effort to diversify its portfolio, according to a statement. At the guided price of €69.27, the stake for sale would be worth about €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion).

Mercedes shares closed up 0.6% at €71.89 on Tuesday in Frankfurt and have been trading near an all-time high. The KIA had informed the company of its decision and it plans to remain a key shareholder in the automaker, the German company said in a separate statement.

Chief Executive Officer Ola Källenius has focused the automaker on more profitable segments and pared back its offerings of entry-level models, leading to a 43% surge in the average price of a Mercedes since 2019. He also split the luxury-car company from its commercial vehicle operation, spinning off Daimler Truck Holding AG in late 2021.

While the luxury strategy has boosted earnings, Mercedes has been forced to cut the price of electric flagship models in China while the European and the U.S. economies are weakening.

Kuwait currently owns 6.8% of Mercedes, making it the third-biggest holder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The KIA — the world’s oldest and one of the largest wealth funds — has been a Mercedes shareholder for almost 50 years.

(Updates with Mercedes comment in third paragraph)

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