GfK Shares Decline After Majority Owner Rules Out Selling

  • GfK Association seeks to help company return to success
  • Company shares fall as much as 5.3 percent in Frankfurt

GfK SE fell the most in three weeks in Frankfurt trading after the German market researcher’s main shareholder ruled out selling a stake in the company.

The stock dropped as much as 5.3 percent after the GfK Association, a non-profit organization that owns more than half of GfK, said Friday it hasn’t considered selling part or all of its shares in the company in the past and isn’t doing so now. A German magazine had reported Thursday that the shareholder is considering strategic options that include a merger or a stake sale.

“Articles of the GfK Association alone make it clear that selling shares is not an easy process, as the executive board and the members’ council would first have to approve such a proposal, and they’re not doing that,” said Hubert Weiler, president of GfK Association. “GfK Association will maintain its commitment to GfK SE in the long run. The Association will do everything possible to ensure that the company returns to its long-term successful course of business.”

GfK elected a new supervisory board chairman yesterday, the association said, without elaborating. Two weeks ago, Chief Executive Officer Matthias Hartmann and supervisory board Chairman Arno Mahlert resigned after falling out with the company’s majority owner.

The shares declined 3.5 percent to 28.10 euros at 12:07 p.m. in Frankfurt, giving the company a market value of about 1 billion euros ($1. billion).

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