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Qatar Holdings reduces stake in Barclays bank

Qatar Holdings (the investment vehicle of the Qatari royal family) has today announced plans to reduce its significant shareholding in Barclays bank. The group will exercise various warrants to acquire 379 million shares at an exercise price of 197.55p and fully intends to sell the shares into the open market. As a consequence, Barclays bank shares fell by just under 5% this morning although this will still give Qatar Holdings an approximate £750 million windfall from the investment.

Interestingly, shares in Sainsbury were marked higher on speculation that the funds raised will be used to either increase the Qatar Holdings investment in Sainsbury or possibly used as a base to launch a full-scale offer for the company. There has been much speculation about the future of Sainsbury over recent weeks which only last week led to a significant spike in share price. Whether this is the start of a new phase in the history of Sainsbury is very much open to debate.

Qatar Holdings was one of three major Middle East investors who became involved in a controversial fundraising when the directors of Barclays bank rejected an offer by the UK government for further funding.

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