Ralph Lauren to sell up to 11.35 million Polo shares
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Polo Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N) Chief Executive Ralph Lauren disclosed plans to sell more than one-quarter of his holdings in the company he founded in a transaction that would net him hundreds of millions of dollars.
Lauren intends to sell as many as 11.35 million shares, according to a filing made late on Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shares of the company were down 3.2 percent to $81.50 in noon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on that price, Lauren's stock sale would be worth $925 million. He currently holds 39.8 million class B shares in the company.
Because Polo Ralph Lauren is not issuing new shares, the sale is not dilutive for other shareholders, though it will lower Lauren's voting power at the company he founded to 80 percent from about 88 percent.
Standard & Poor's Equity Research analyst Marie Driscoll said in a note that she was not concerned by the sale because it is apparently part of Lauren's investment diversification efforts and maintained her "buy" recommendation, citing the company's growth prospects.
Lauren is selling 9 million shares, but the sale's underwriters, led by J.P Morgan (JPM.N) and Goldman Sachs & Co (GS.N), have the option to buy another 1.35 million shares. On top of that, Polo Ralph Lauren has agreed to buy another 1 million shares from him.
The role of Lauren, who established the Polo brand in 1967, as chairman and chief executive will remain unchanged.