Stocks/mutual funds

ING Group to divest 30 million shares of ING U.S.

ING GroupING Group said on Monday that it plans to sell approximately 30 million shares—over $900 million of stock—in ING U.S., which represents an 11.5 percent stake in its U.S.-based retirement, investment and insurance arm.

The sale, the proceeds of which will go towards reducing the group’s core debt, would cut ING Group’s stake in ING U.S. from approximately 71 percent to 60 percent. Underwriters will be provided an option to purchase up to 4.5 million additional shares, which could further reduce the group’s stake to approximately 58 percent.

ING said the transaction will not impact the group’s profit and loss account. The transaction is expected to have a negative impact of approximately $689.1 million on shareholders’ equity of ING Group, with the amount reflecting the difference between anticipated net proceeds and the estimated book value of the stake being sold.

Last November, ING Group reached a deal with European regulators to divest at least 25 percent of the U.S. unit before the end of this year, more than 50 percent by the end of next year and the remainder by the end of 2016. The company has until 2018 to complete the sale of its global insurance operations.

ING sold shares in ING U.S. through an initial public offering in May, and in accordance with the company’s plans to divest its remaining stake in ING U.S., the U.S.-based arm will be classified as held for sale and will be reported under discontinued operations.

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