CoreLogic's largest shareholder T. Rowe slashes stake amid takeover battle

Aug 11 (Reuters) - CoreLogic Inc’s largest shareholder, T. Rowe Price Investment Management, sold most of its stake in the U.S. property data and analytics company last month as a $7 billion takeover battle raged, according to a regulatory filing.

Mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price’s stake in CoreLogic declined from 12.4% as of June 30 to 2.6% as of July 31, according to the filing, made public this week. The fund operator had owned 17.8% of CoreLogic at the end of December, another filing shows.

CoreLogic’s shares jumped by 30% on June 26 after Cannae Holdings and Senator Investment Group unveiled a $7 billion bid for the company, closing that day at $67.95. The shares remained at that level even after CoreLogic rejected the offer and set a special shareholder meeting for Nov. 17 to square off with the investment firms over the composition of its board. CoreLogic shares, which in March had fallen as low as $24.71, on Tuesday closed at $66.72.

T. Rowe declined to comment on whether the rally in CoreLogic’s stock and the takeover battle factored into its decision to sell most of its stake in the open market. CoreLogic did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

T. Rowe held most of its stake in CoreLogic through its $33.6 billion T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth Fund. Its fund manager Brian Berghuis told investors in documents about the fund’s performance that CoreLogic had been one of the fund’s top five gainers in the first half of 2020. Berghuis could not be reached for comment.

Cannae and Senator are now CoreLogic’s top shareholders with a combined 15% economic interest in the company. The two firms are asking other shareholders to replace nine of CoreLogic’s directors on its 12-member board in November with their nominees.

The Federal Trade Commission, which reviews deals for potential antitrust risk, has opened an investigation into the takeover fight, CoreLogic has previously disclosed. The scope of the agency’s probe is unclear. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston Additional reporting by Tim McLaughlin in Boston Editing by Leslie Adler)