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EQT Probed by Swedish Regulator Over Suspected Market Abuse

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(Bloomberg) -- EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, is being investigated by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority for suspected market abuse. The shares fell as much as 8.1% in Stockholm trading.

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The financial watchdog said it is probing a $2.7 billion public offering that allowed several executives to sell shares. The announcement from the regulator comes exactly on the two-year anniversary of EQT’s initial public offering.

The secondary offering of EQT shares, Europe’s largest of the past year, has caused consternation among some investors because it broke the terms of a lock-up agreement made at the time of its IPO. The firm’s response to questions from the regulator about the release of information concerning the sale has prompted the FSA to investigate further, according to the statement.

“The company has handled the timing of announcing the insider information correctly,” EQT spokesman Rickard Buch told Bloomberg in response to the statement. “Now it is important to let the process take its course,” he said.

EQT’s chairman, Conni Jonsson, said at the time of the sale that the revision of the lock-up structure was an important strategic move that would improve the liquidity of the shares. The partners also pledged to reinvest 50% of the net proceeds from the release into EQT funds over the next fund cycle.

Read More: EQT Partners Get $2.7 Billion Payday With Early Share Sale

(Adds comments from EQT spokesman in the fourth paragraph)

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