Bharti Airtel Drops After Qatar Fund Seeks $1.5 Billion Stake Sale

Bharti Airtel Ltd. fell as much as 6.7 percent Wednesday after Qatar Foundation was seeking to sell as much as $1.5 billion of the Indian wireless carrier’s stock.

Shares of Bharti Airtel were down 5.2 percent to 487.80 rupees at 10:32 a.m. in Mumbai, on track for the biggest fall in more than a year. Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit run by the gas-rich country’s royal family, was offering to sell about a 5 percent stake in the company, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg earlier.

The deal would be India’s largest block trade in more than two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Daiichi Sankyo Co. sold $3.2 billion of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. shares in April 2015, the data show.

Qatar Foundation was offering as many as 199.9 million shares of Bharti Airtel at 473 rupees to 480 rupees apiece after cutting the top end of an initial price range, the deal terms show. UBS Group AG is the placement agent for the offering. 

Qatar had to redeploy some of its foreign assets to bolster the local economy and banking system after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties on June 5 and withdrew deposits, accusing the sheikdom of funding terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges.

The country’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has reduced its direct holdings in Credit Suisse Group AG, Rosneft PJSC and Tiffany & Co. in recent months. Qatar has also made some acquisitions since June, most notably Qatar Airways Ltd.’s purchase of a 9.6 percent stake of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., a deal valued at HK$5.16 billion ($662 million).

For more on Qatar’s plan for its foreign assets amid the embargo, click here.

Qatar Foundation built branch campuses for Cornell, Northwestern, Georgetown and other U.S. universities, and its endowment includes 27 percent of Vodafone Qatar and a property development unit that will eventually host most of the financial firms in Doha. The foundation acquired the Bharti Airtel stake for 340 rupees a share in May 2013.

Qatar Foundation’s Three Pillars Pte affiliate won’t own any shares in Bharti Airtel after the sale, the terms show.

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