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Qatar Boosts Stake in Tiffany to Amass $700 Million Shareholding

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Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar boosted holdings in Tiffany & Co., the world’s second-largest luxury jewelry retailer, as the country uses its energy wealth to snap up stakes in companies such as Credit Suisse Group AG, Xstrata Plc and Volkswagen AG.

Qatar Investment Authority, the Persian Gulf nation's sovereign wealth fund, increased its stake to 8.7 percent at the end of last year, according to a regulatory filing. The fund previously had a 7.8 percent stake, according to a Dec. 17 filing. Tiffany gained 0.3 percent to $63.10 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange Trading, valuing the Persian Gulf nation’s 11 million-share stake at about $700 million.

Qatar is using wealth from the world’s third-largest gas reserves to acquire assets across the globe and influence takeover decisions. The Middle Eastern nation last year pushed Glencore International Plc to boost its offer for Swiss miner Xstrata Plc in a $31 billion deal. It also bought U.K. luxury-good store Harrods for 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) in 2010 and holds stakes in companies ranging from Barclays Plc to Agricultural Bank of China Ltd and retailer J Sainsbury Plc.

Tiffany, based in New York, said in January that full-year earnings will be at the low end of its forecast after holiday sales growth slowed in the Americas and Asia. The company had already missed analysts’ income forecasts for four straight quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Qatar Investment Authority has $30 billion to invest, board member Hussain Al Abdulla said in April. It is opportunistic and doesn’t have any geographic, asset or currency allocation targets, he said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said in October that the country is weighing a potential stake in Morgan Stanley’s commodities unit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shaji Mathew in Dubai at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net

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