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An Asian company just sold a huge block of stocks to "institutional investors" at only $9.25 - while the current price on the market was at $12.40. Over the past two days the price has been tanking, and is now at $11.30.

It is worrying that the investors got such a big discount, and it looks as if either they are cashing in on their extremely handsome profit, (33percent profit for holding on for a day), or other investors are selling off. Does anyone know who got the stock, what the terms were, and does anyone have any predictions on how much worse it might get?

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The "Asian company" is actually Stetsys Pte. Ltd., and Stetsys US, Inc., the major stockholders of the company, both of which are essentially part of the Shanghai government. The movement of stock from government hands to a private investor is a good thing.

When stock is moved in a large block like that, it isn't done by auction; the damage of 9,676,800 shares suddenly appearing on the market would be far, far, FAR worse.

For this kind of sale, when you want to move somewhere in the range of $100 million in shares, you have to offer a discount to get the institutions to open up their wallets. And since the additional shares add to the 'float,' the buyer is going to expect that to be factored into the discount.

Here's the closing prices and volume during the week of the sale:

02/23/2004 11.140 376,104
02/20/2004 11.500 256,068
02/19/2004 11.720 824,987
02/18/2004 11.250 544,781
02/17/2004 12.110 580,007

The price took a hit, but I don't think the stock was really punished all that much.

The buyers, I'm assuming, are standard institutional investors; mutual funds and the like. The company put on a "road show" presentation to various reps of these institutions to solicit their business.

The SEC filing for the sale, and some PowerPoint slides from the "road show" are here:

(Note: if the line breaks, you may need to "reconstruct" the link in your browser.)

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