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Sainsbury CEO King Sells Part of Stake for ‘Personal Reasons’

J Sainsbury Plc (SBRY) Chief Executive Officer Justin King sold part of his stake in the U.K.’s third-largest grocer for about 900,000 pounds ($1.38 million) amid continued conjecture over when he will hand over the reins.

King disposed of 248,039 shares at 366 pence each, the London-based company said in a statement today, reducing his holding to about 1.3 million shares. Sainsbury shares fell 1.9 percent to 358 pence at the close of trading in London.

“Justin is selling the shares for personal reasons and as far as the speculation is concerned there is nothing new to say,” spokesman Trevor Datson said. “Justin’s very happy here and he is looking forward to being part of our future success.”

King, 52, said in January he was “here for the long term” after reports that the retailer may be planning for succession. Sainsbury has reported 34 successive quarters of same-store sales growth under his stewardship.

Formula One Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview published May 31 that he rejected a proposal by the auto-racing series owner CVC Capital Partners Ltd. to have King, an avid motor-racing fan, work alongside him.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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