ING Asks Investors To Disregard Its Premature Stock Sale Announcement

ING Asks Investors To Disregard Its Premature Stock Sale Announcement

ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING) has asked investors to disregard the regulatory filing outlining its plans to sell more shares in its U.S. life insurance unit it mistakenly filed earlier today.

In today’s premature filing, the Dutch financial-services major announced its intention to sell roughly 33 million shares of common stock of ING U.S., Inc.

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ING’s 6-k filing

In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission posted before 7 a.m. in New York, the Dutch insurance giant said it planned to sell 33 million shares of the New York-based ING U.S. Inc, with a total value of about about $1.2 billion, based on yesterday’s closing price of $35.60 for ING U.S.

However, shortly thereafter, the insurance giant issued a statement informing investors that the filing with the SEC should be ignored until further notice. Raymond Vermeulen, a spokesman for ING said, “Someone filed something which shouldn’t have been filed”.

Prunes stake to repay Dutch government

Rachel Abrams of Dealbook points out that ING is in the process of reducing its stake in its American retirement, insurance and investment businesses as it continues to repay the Dutch government for a financial crisis bailout of 10 billion euros or $13.9 billion at current exchange rates.

Interestingly, the Dutch major disclosed in another filing with the SEC last week that it was exploring a further sale of shares.

Rachel Abrams of Dealbook highlighted some of the prematurely released financial news in the recent past. For instance, in its earnings release last year, Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) inadvertently disclosed the terms of a long-awaited merger between the company and OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX). In 2012, The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) too inadvertently e-mailed a draft copy to Bloomberg News about the company’s announcement to cut 2,400 jobs, which contained news about a financial charge for the fourth quarter of 2012 related to the restructuring.

In its ‘erroneous’ filing on Tuesday, Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING Group, disclosed that with this planned sale, the company would deliver on its agreement with the European Commission to further reduce its stake in ING U.S. in 2014, and accomplish another important milestone in the restructuring of ING Group while receiving proceeds to further reduce ING Group core debt.

It was further highlighted that the proposed sale of roughly 33 million shares would prune ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING)’s stake in the ING U.S. to roughly 45% from approximately 57% at year-end 2013.


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