Picture: Reuters
Picture: Reuters

London/ Berlin — Adidas shares fell 3% on Wednesday on news that one of the German sportswear company’s top shareholders, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), was preparing to sell a portion of its near €4bn stake, three traders said.

Belgian investment firm GBL was placing a 10th its 7.5% holding, or 1.37-million shares, at €257.75 on the market for sale, a 1.7% discount to Tuesday’s closing price, the traders added. The sale is worth €353.1m.

GBL and Adidas, whose shares hit record highs on Tuesday, declined to comment.

Adidas is in the midst of a share buyback, planning to repurchase €3bn in stock between March 2018 and May 2021, which has gradually pushed up GBL’s relative stake.

Adidas’s share price has more than doubled since GBL invested in the company as CEO Kasper Rorsted focused on improving profitability, expanding in North America and China and boosting online sales.

In GBL’s recent annual report, it said it intends not to have a single asset exceeding 15% to 20% of its portfolio. Adidas made up 17.5% of GBL’s portfolio at the end of March, with the stock's value surging to record highs in 2019.

On Wednesday morning, Adidas shares were down 2.6% at €255.4 and lagging the broader DAX index, which was down 0.5%.

GBL, founded by Belgium’s richest man Albert Frere, who died in December at the age of 92, first invested in Adidas in 2015 with the purchase of a 3% stake.

GBL also holds stakes in some of Europe’s biggest companies, including Pernod Ricard, LafargeHolcim and Total.