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Under Sebi lens, Elliott offloads 6% in AstraZeneca

Under Sebi lens, Elliott offloads 6% in AstraZeneca

The delisting saga surrounding AstraZeneca, the Indian subsidiary of the British pharmaceutical AstraZeneca AB, has taken a new twist. The company’s controversial shareholder Elliott Group, the foreign institutional investor (FII) which was under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) lens for synchronised trading in the stock, has sold over 6% of its holding in AstraZeneca even as the capital market regulator’s investigation was going on.

Sebi’s deadline to investigate dealings of the Elliott Group with regard to the de-listing of Astra-Zeneca ended on March 11. But, regulatory officials have taken note of Elliott’s selling of a large chunk of its shares ahead of Sebi’s final order in the case, which is expected in the next 6-8 weeks. AstraZeneca has made unsuccessful attempts to de-list its shares from Indian stock exchanges for over a decade now.

But the company faced resistance from retail shareholders who sought a higher price. Meanwhile, Elliott picked up a 15.52% stake in the company in May 2013 via an offer for sale (OFS) and decided to tender its shares in 2014. In June 2014, Sebi observed that Elliott could be acting in collusion with the promoters of Astra-Zeneca and its 15.52% shareholding in the company had the potential to influence the delisting price in the manner that could be detrimental to the interests of retailBut the company faced resistance from retail shareholders who sought a higher price. Meanwhile, Elliott picked up a 15.52% stake in the company in May 2013 via an offer for sale (OFS) and decided to tender its shares in 2014. In June 2014, Sebi observed that Elliott could be acting in collusion with the promoters of Astra-Zeneca and its 15.52% shareholding in the company had the potential to influence the delisting price in the manner that could be detrimental to the interests of retail shareholder.

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