German drugs and pesticides group Bayer (>> Bayer) has further reduced its holding in Covestro (>> Covestro) to 31.5 percent from 40.9 percent by selling 19 million shares in the plastics business for a total of 1.2 billion euros. (1.08 billion pounds)
It said on Wednesday that it placed the stock at 63.25 euros each, a 3.7 percent discount to Tuesday's closing share price, which DZ Bank analyst Peter Spengler said indicated healthy demand for the stock.
Bayer, which is trying to wrap up the $66 billion takeover of U.S. seeds giant Monsanto (>> Monsanto) by the end of the year, had announced the accelerated bookbuilding late on Tuesday, part of its plan to fully sever ties with Covestro over the medium-term.
It has agreed to hold off for 90 days on placing more shares in Covestro, which it spun off as a listed company two years ago. Bayer's pension trust separately holds 8.9 percent of Covestro.
Barclays (>> Barclays) and Citigroup (>> Citigroup) acted as joint bookrunners for the placement, which was aimed at institutional investors.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)