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EQT and Goldman Sachs sell 19 percent of ISS for $1 billion-Reuters

(Reuters) – Private equity company EQT and funds advised by Goldman Sachs (GS.N) have sold their 19.3 percent stake in Danish business services firm ISS (ISS.CO) for 7.3 billion Danish crowns ($1.04 billion), ISS said.

The sale comes a decade after EQT and Goldman Sachs bought the company for 22 billion Danish crowns. They cut their holding last year when it was listed on Copenhagen’s stock exchange at 160 crowns per share.

The shares were sold at a price of 204 Danish crowns each, close to Thursday’s closing price of 204.10 crowns following an accelerated bookbuilding process.

Kirkbi Invest, which invests funds from the family behind Denmark’s Lego toys, almost doubled its stake in ISS to 10.3 percent in the transaction.

ISS, one of the world’s biggest private employers with more than 520,000 workers, has a relatively stable cash flow and dividend payout. It is seen by many investors as an alternative to bonds which currently offer very low interest rates.

The shares traded 6.7 percent higher at 217.90 crowns at 1120 GMT.

“The fact that such a large stake was sold without any discount shows that there is a good demand for ISS shares,” said Sydbank analyst Soren Lontoft Hansen. “The placement reduces the risk of large share sales going forward which could have put pressure on the share price.”

Danish pension fund PFA, which owned around 1.5 percent of ISS’ shares before the placement, has also bought more shares, head of its asset management unit Jesper Langmack told Reuters declining to give a specific amount.

The shares had fallen 4 percent on Thursday after ISS revealed that its fourth quarter net profit had been dented by a 420 million crowns write-down in the Netherlands.