According to Reuters, Qatar Holding plans to sell off 362 million shares in Barclays, valued at approximately £510 million ($657 million). The objective is to reduce its stake from 5.3% to 3.2%. As a result, Barclays’ shares dropped 2% on Tuesday, contributing to an overall 11% decrease in value over the past year. The sold shares were priced at 141 pence, reflecting a 1.4% discount compared to Barclays’ closing price on Monday.
This development comes at a time when Barclays is facing increasing pressure from investors concerning its financial performance. The bank has seen underwhelming results due to a slowdown in its investment banking division. Consequently, under the leadership of CEO C.S Venkatakrishna, Barclays is devising plans to reduce costs by up to £1 billion. One proposed measure includes downsizing by cutting 2,000 back office staff in Barclays’ operational support division, known as Barclays Execution Services or BX.
Barclays CEO under Pressure to Boost Share Price
The Barclays CEO, known as Venkat, has been facing increasing pressure to improve the bank’s share price. Since taking on the role in November 2021, the share price has dropped by 28%.
QIA Becomes Barclays’ Largest Shareholder
Criminal Investigation into Barclays’ Dealings with QIA
Following the cash injection from QIA, Barclays faced allegations of secret fees paid to QIA. These allegations prompted a criminal investigation by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The investigation centered around claims that Barclays utilized the cash injection to avoid a government bailout after the 2008 crash.
Undisclosed Payments Lead to Declining Share Value
Barclays made payments totaling £322 million to Qatar, which were not disclosed to markets or shareholders. As a result, the bank’s shares have lost over half of their value since Qatar’s initial investment in 2008.
Legal Outcome for Barclays
Barclays and QIA have been approached for comment on these matters.