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Discovery Says Bank Selling Shares in Black Empowerment Deal

Discovery Ltd. said Standard Bank Group Ltd. worked with a black investor on the 1.15 billion-rand ($110 million) sale of about 2 percent of South Africa’s largest medical-insurance administrator.

The stock sold for 77 rand a share, a 3.5 percent discount to Discovery’s closing price yesterday, Jhulan Vallabh, part of Standard Bank’s equity capital markets team in Johannesburg, said in an e-mailed statement today. Demand outstripped supply, he said. Vallabh declined to name the bank’s client, adding that it wasn’t Discovery Chief Executive Officer Adrian Gore.

“Standard Bank is working with a black economic empowerment party on a transaction,” Richard Farber, financial director of Johannesburg-based Discovery, said in an e-mailed response to questions today. “A detailed announcement will follow in due course.”

Discovery’s three biggest shareholders are Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund and Gore, according to Discovery’s latest annual report. South African companies are compelled by law to increase ownership by black shareholders to make up for discrimination under apartheid.

Discovery fell 1.8 percent to 78.40 rand as of 3:06 p.m. in Johannesburg trading, its lowest level in almost two months. That cut the company’s market value to 46.4 billion rand.

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