Europe’s Stock Rally Fuels Up to $5 Billion of Share Sales in One Night

European stock prices trading near record highs drove companies and shareholders to cash in on as much as $5 billion of share offerings on Tuesday, with a $2.9 billion stake sale in private equity firm EQT AB leading the charge. 

At least eight transactions hit traders screens after markets closed, with shareholders including KKR & Co. and Dongfeng Motor Group Co. selling stakes in everything from tech companies SoftwareOne Holding AG and TietoEVRY Oyj, automaker Stellantis NV, telecommunications firm Huber + Suhner AG, online retailer Asos Plc, automotive distributor Inchcape Plc and art supplier Fila SpA. A ninth deal saw human-resources services firm Adecco Group AG offer fresh stock. 

Partners and management at EQT are offloading 25.1 billion kronor ($2.94 billion) of the company’s shares in Europe’s largest share sale since February 2020, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The buyout firm brought forward by a year the partial release of a lockup agreement stemming from its initial public offering in 2019.

Volumes of this kind on a single day are unusual in the European market, which has recorded 50 stake sales over the past three months, the data show. The last time the region saw such a deluge of stock offerings was in May last year.

“It is not surprising to see such an elevated level of activity post-U.S. Labor day,” said Francois-Olivier Mercier, UBS Group AG’s head of equity capital markets syndicate for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Today marks the first day of the return to full liquidity post-summer and the window until third-quarter black-out periods will last a few weeks only,” he said. 

European stocks are hovering near a record high reached mid-August on the back of strong corporate earnings and economic growth potential. But the focus has now shifted to the risks of inflation and monetary policy, with investors awaiting the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday for clues on how soon it will move to dial down emergency stimulus.

There were no dearth of takers for Tuesday’s stock sales. Order books for sales in SoftwareOne, TietoEVRY, Huber + Suhner, EQT, Adecco were covered within minutes of opening up their deals. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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