April 16, 2013 / 4:50 PM / 6 years ago

Daimler begins sale of EADS stake

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) began selling its remaining stake in Airbus’s owner EADS EAD.PA on Tuesday as part of a wider overhaul of the European aerospace group’s core ownership nearly 13 years after its creation.

An Airbus A-380 plane performs in heavy rain during the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, August 21, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

Daimler said on Tuesday that it received a waiver from a six-month lock-up period and would immediately begin placing with investors 61.1 million shares, equivalent to a 7.5 percent stake in the Toulouse-based company.

The sale follows French founding shareholder Lagardere’s (LAGA.PA) exit from EADS last week with the sale of a matching stake, paving the way for the aerospace group to have a larger free-market float.

The pricing of the offer of Daimler’s shares in EADS is expected to take place on April 17, but the stake is worth between 2.2 to 2.3 billion euros ($2.89-$3.02 billion) at current market prices.

EADS’s shares closed at 37.19 euros a share on Tuesday.

A source close to the deal said the shares were being priced at between 36.20 euros and 37 euros each.

“We are pursuing a corporate strategy with a clear focus on automotive products and services ... We will invest the proceeds of the sale in the global growth of our divisions and the extension of our technological leadership,” Daimler’s chief financial officer Bodo Uebber said in a statement.

Daimler said that EADS intends to buy 600 million euros worth of its own shares as part of the placing, subject to allocation.

Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N), the joint book runners for the offering, are also serving as counterparties to Daimler in a separate but related transaction.

($1=0.7616 euros)

Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner and Edward Taylor in Frankfurt and Kylie MacLellan in London; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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