FRANKFURT The German government has sold a 5 percent stake in Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE) for 924 million euros ($1.17 billion) as it tries to raise billions of euros from privatizations this year to offset the budget strain of the euro zone crisis.
The placement, announced late on Thursday, will reduce the German government's stake in Deutsche Post to 25.5 percent from 30.5 percent, and the holding is expected to shrink further when a convertible bond matures in 2014.
State development bank KfW KFW.UL, which holds the German government's stake in Deutsche Post, said on Friday it placed 60 million shares with institutional investors for 15.40 euros ($19.46) apiece.
That is slightly below the indicative price range of between 15.70 euros and the market price and represents a 3.6 percent discount to Thursday's closing price of 15.98 euros.
The sale was run by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
KfW is taking advantage of a rally in the share price of the Bonn-based mail provider that has taken the stock to its highest level in almost four years and given the company a market value of 19 billion euros, according to Thomson Reuters data.
In the past three months, Deutsche Post shares have gained 22 percent.
"The timing of the transaction is excellent," DZ Bank analyst Robert Czerwensky said, adding Deutsche Post was still his top recommendation in the logistics sector for the medium to long term.
The placement will also increase the proportion of freely traded shares in the company to about 74.5 percent, making Deutsche Post's shares more liquid.
The stock was down 3.19 percent at 15.46 euros at 0854 GMT on Friday.
($1 = 0.7915 euros)
(Reporting By Matthias Inverardi, writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by David Cowell)
Google gets Australian tax office demand to pay more, says to fight it
SYDNEY, April 29 Alphabet Inc's Google said it will challenge amended tax assessments issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which is trying to claw back billions of dollars from multinational corporations citing unpaid taxes.