The world's largest asset management company, United States-based Black Rock, has grabbed a 5 per cent, or $250 million, stake in Telecom after 16 of its global subsidiary companies recently bought shares.
Black Rock becomes the third or fourth largest shareholder in Telecom, prompting talk in the market of a possible move to take over the country's largest listed company, which is about to be demerged and split into two listed companies.
In a notice to shareholders, Telecom listed 16 Black Rock companies around the world, including from Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, most of which bought a less than 1 per cent stake in Telecom - but totalling 5 per cent in all. The 96.2 million shares were valued at $253 million, based on Friday's trading price, which was up 0.5 per cent after the announcement, at $2.63.
The company will split into two separate businesses, Chorus and Telecom, on November 26. Black Rock, along with other existing shareholders, will pick up one new Chorus share for every five existing Telecom shares.
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Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms discounted market speculation of a takeover bid at this stage. He said although Black Rock had a history of "predatory behaviour", at this early stage it appeared to be simply taking a substantial holding in Telecom.
- OTAGO DAILY TIMES