Berjaya Rallies as New CEO Buys Stake Amid Pledge to Revamp Firm

Berjaya Corp.’s new group chief executive officer bought a minority stake in the company as he looked to restructure one of Malaysia’s sprawling business groups. The shares rallied to a near three-year high.

Abdul Jalil bin Abdul Rasheed acquired 70 million shares at 28 sen a share, he said in a statement on Wednesday. The stake, worth 19.6 million ringgit ($4.8 million), matches the amount of shares that founder and Executive Chairman Vincent Tan said he sold, according to a separate statement the same day.

Tan picked Jalil more than a week ago to “future-proof” his family empire from future shocks following losses from the pandemic. It is the first time he has hired an outside professional to run his group that spans property, betting, hotels to insurance, and has an interest in U.K. luxury car dealer HR Owen Plc.

Berjaya Rallies as New CEO Buys Stake Amid Pledge to Revamp Firm

“Being a shareholder and CEO will allow me to execute changes with the right incentive in place,” Jalil said. “It is also a vote of confidence in the company, and addresses the seriousness of this institutionalization phase we are undertaking.”

Two days after his March 16 appointment, Berjaya formed a partnership with New World Capital Advisors Ltd., a London-based merchant bank, to provide advisory services including mergers and acquisitions and strategy in Malaysia and neighboring countries.

Shares of Berjaya, which also runs Starbucks and Kenny Rogers Roasters outlets across the nation, rallied as much as 16% on Thursday to the highest since May 2018. Its trading volume was 1,725% of its three-month average. The stock has soared 78% since the appointment, boosting its market value to 1.57 billion ringgit.

Jalil was CEO of Permodalan Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s top state-run money manager, and has worked with Aberdeen Standard Investments and Invesco Ltd.

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