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Jupiter offloads Starling stake

Jupiter offloads Starling stake

Jupiter Asset Management has flogged its stake in digital lender Starling Bank and enacted a policy to stop its open-end funds from buying up shares in private companies.

Jupiter has been in talks with existing Starling investors about offloading its six percent holding in the mobile bank since the summer.

At the time, it was thought that the sale would value Starling at around £1.5 billion, a significant billion pound discount to its valuation at an internal fundraise in April.

The buyers are existing shareholders, including the investment trust Chrysalis, which agreed to purchase £20 million of equity, accounting for 15% of the fund's total investments, the FT reports. Earlier reports also suggested that Goldman Sachs was sniffing around the pot, although whether this came to fruition is not known.

In a letter to its clients seen by the FT, Jupiter CEO Matt Beesley explained that the market volatility in recent years has led to a change in investor sentiment towards holding unlisted assets in open-ended funds.

As a result, Jupiter will no longer allow its open-ended funds to invest in unlisted companies, which are more difficult to trade, in order to protect investors during market sell-offs.

Jupiter's offloading of Starling stock comes just weeks after the lender reported that it expects to quadruple profits this year, bolstered by strong growth in the SME market, where it has picked up 520,000 small business accounts, representing an 8.9% market share.

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