Friday, February 18, 2011

John Lewis sells stake in Ocado

11 February 2011 Last updated at 09:49 GMT Continue reading the main story Shares in home delivery grocer Ocado have fallen more than 15% after the John Lewis pension trust sold its 10.4% stake in the firm for £152m.

The online company said the sale would not affect its commercial relations with Waitrose, a John Lewis division.

Ocado mainly sells Waitrose products, but some analysts expect the two to become competitors as John Lewis expands its own grocery business.

Ocado shares have risen strongly recently, closing at 285p on Thursday.

The company had a market value of about £1.4bn. However, in morning trading Ocado's shares were down 44p at 241p.

In a statement, John Lewis said it had arranged for investment bank Goldman Sachs to sell its entire holding of 57.3 million shares to a range of institutional investors. The price paid was 265p a share, raising about £151.8m.

The John Lewis pension fund sold more than half its original stake in Ocado at the time of the online grocer's initial public offering in July.

There had been a "lock-in" agreement preventing further share sales, which expired last month.

The pension trust's representative on Ocado's board, Patrick Lewis, has resigned.

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