Standard Chartered Plc slipped 4 percent in London trading after a report that the bank’s largest shareholder talked to potential buyers for its stake.
Temasek Holdings Pte assessed interest in the stake in recent months, although the talks came to nothing, the Financial Times reported today, citing people it didn’t identify. The Singapore investment company holds 18 percent of London-based Standard Chartered, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Shares of the bank, which generates almost 90 percent of its profit and revenue in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, fell as much as 61.5 pence, or 4.2 percent, to 1,419 pence and traded at 1,421 pence at 12:09 p.m. in London.
“Temasek is a long-term investor, and the fact that it has decided to sell its stake would also signal it feels this is the top of the valuation range for the bank,” Chirantan Barua, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein Research in London who rates the bank underperform, wrote in a note to clients today.
A sale of Temasek’s stake in Standard Chartered could be hindered by the bank’s recent $340 million settlement of a probe into accusations that it helped Iran illegally funnel money through the U.S., according to the Financial Times.
Gabriel Kwan, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Standard Chartered, and Jeffrey Fang, a spokesman for Temasek, declined to comment on speculation.
The news Temasek considered a sale is “likely to overhang the stock in the short term; longer term it potentially increases the likelihood of a takeover,” Cormac Leech, an analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London, said in a note. Chinese banks such as Bank of Communications Co. are potential bidders, he said.