Billionaire De Mol Raises Delta Lloyd Stake as Shorts Fall

  • De Mol raises stake to 5 percent from 3 percent previously
  • Worldquant cuts short position to 1.3 percent from 1.9 percent

Dutch billionaire John de Mol became Delta Lloyd NV’s fourth-largest shareholder on the day the Dutch insurer narrowed the amount it plans to raise in a rights offer to 650 million euros ($716 million).

De Mol held a 5 percent stake in Delta Lloyd on Wednesday according to a filing to Dutch market regulator AFM, after reporting he held a 3 percent stake on Feb. 2. Shares in the insurer, whose holders include money manager David Einhorn, rose as much as 5 percent on Thursday and were trading at 5.43 euros at 2:57 p.m.

“We are positive about the intended rights offer by Delta Lloyd,” De Mol said in an e-mailed statement, declining to elaborate on his intentions with the stake. A spokesman for Delta Lloyd declined to comment on the increased investment.

Delta Lloyd, the worst-performing stock on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange in the past year, narrowed the rights issue on Wednesday from as much as 1 billion euros. The insurer’s stock has been under pressure amid investor concern about its ability to bolster capital as European regulators introduce stricter requirements.

The Dutch insurer had been a target for hedge funds. Short interest climbed to an almost three-year high on Feb. 2, according to London-based Markit, a financial-data provider. That measure dropped to 24.5 percent from 27 percent, the data shows.

Worldquant LLC cuts its position to 1.3 percent from 1.9 percent on Tuesday, according to a regulatory filing. Capital Fund Management SA has reduced its short position by more than 205,000 shares to about 0.87 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A spokesman for Capital Fund Management declined to comment. Worldquant did not reply to a request for comment outside normal office hours.

Investors short companies by selling borrowed stock and seek to profit by buying it back later at a lower price.

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