CIC sells most of its BlackRock stake: FT

HONG KONG Mon Sep 3, 2012 4:44am BST

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Investment Corp (CIC) has sold most of its stake in BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), the world's biggest asset manager, as part of a wider strategy to trim holdings in global financial institutions, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

CIC CIC.UL, China's $482 billion sovereign wealth fund, bought a 3 percent stake in BlackRock for $1 billion in 2009, the report said. It has been gradually cutting down its holding in recent months, generating profits on the sales, the FT said, citing people familiar with the matter.

CIC bought the BlackRock stake at a discount to its then trading price of $178.50, the report said. The stock closed at $176.37 on Friday, valuing the company at $30.5 billion.

CIC reported its first fall in net profit in 2011 earlier this year. It doubled its investment in private equity, direct investments and hedge funds to 43 percent of its portfolio last year.

BlackRock and CIC are still on course to jointly launch a China-focused fund, expected to be running by the end of this year or early next year, the report added.

A CIC spokeswoman in Beijing was not available for immediate comment, while an external public relations company for BlackRock in Hong Kong declined comment.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing, Nishant Kumar and Denny Thomas; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)