JOHANNESBURG, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Vodafone has sold down its stake in South African subsidiary Vodacom by 5.2 percentage points, it announced on Wednesday, sending the African mobile firm’s share price down by more than 6 percent.
The sale of 90 million shares for 14.85 billion rand ($1.15 billion) in a private placement reduces Vodafone’s stake in Vodacom to 64.5 percent.
The sale follows Vodafone’s move to consolidate its African holdings by selling most of its holding in Kenya’s Safaricom to Vodacom in exchange for a larger stake in the South African company.
That deal pushed the proportion of the South African firm’s shares that are traded on the Johannesburg Security Exchange below the JSE’s minimum threshold of 20 percent.
“As part of the Safaricom transaction, Vodafone therefore committed to Vodacom that it would sell down a sufficient number of shares to ensure that Vodacom will meet the 20 percent minimum free float requirement on the JSE,” Vodafone and Vodacom said in a combined statement.
After the South African market closed on Tuesday Vodafone sold the shares to institutional investors for 165 rand apiece, which compared with Vodacom’s closing price of 178.30 rand.
Shares in Vodacom, South Africa’s market leader which now also holds a 35 percent stake in Safaricom, were down 6.5 percent at 166.75 rand at 1049 GMT. ($1 = 12.9328 rand) (Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Greg Mahlich)