Borse Dubai plans to sell part of stake in the Nasdaq in a deal potentially worth some $1.6 billion


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Dubai sovereign wealth fund that's the single-largest shareholder in the Nasdaq stock index plans to sell a third of its shares in the exchange, a deal potentially worth some $1.6 billion that saw the value of the firm fall in aftermarket trading Wednesday.

The announcement from Borse Dubai, owned by the Investment Corp. of Dubai, would make it the second-largest holder in the Nasdaq, a technology-heavy exchange that's one of the three main indexes in the United States.

“Today’s offering is being conducted to enhance the capital structure and liquidity within the Borse Dubai Group," said Essa Kazim, chair and CEO of Borse Dubai, in a statement released after the Nasdaq closed Tuesday. "We continue to be a longterm shareholder in Nasdaq and are invested in the success of the company.”

Kazim did not say what exactly Borse Dubai planned to do with the money. Filings by the Nasdaq put the Borse Dubai sale at some 26.9 million shares. A separate statement suggested a sales price of $59 a share, putting a potential value of $1.6 billion on the deal.

Borse Dubai will retain some 10.8% of shares in the Nasdaq.

“Borse Dubai is and continues to be a valued shareholder of Nasdaq underpinned by a shared vision for our future,” Nasdaq Chief Financial Officer Sarah Youngwood said in the same statement. “Borse Dubai’s insights and contributions have and will continue to shape our path ahead.”

Share prices for the Nasdaq fell 2.6% in aftermarket trading Wednesday to just over $60 a share.

As part of a complex 2007 deal, the Nasdaq sold a 20% stake of the exchange to Borse Dubai in return for a controlling stake in OMX, Sweden's leading stock market. The deal also saw Borse Dubai take a 28% stake in the London Stock Exchange, making it its largest shareholder. Borse Dubai sold all its shares in the LSE back in 2015.

There's also a Nasdaq Dubai exchange that opened in 2005 as an alternative to the Dubai Financial Market, the main stock index in the city-state in the United Arab Emirates. It was meant to be an alternative to the DFM, listing its stocks in U.S. dollars rather than Emirati dirhams. However, the Nasdaq Dubai has not risen to great prominence.

Dubai in recent years has been offering a series of initial public offerings in state-owned businesses.

The Investment Corp. of Dubai owns both the long-haul carrier Emirates, its lower-cost sister airline, FlyDubai, and other investments valued at $320 billion.