Philips sells Pace stake

By Julian Clover

Philips Electronics has sold its 17% stake in set-top box manufacturer Pace after the company waived the lock-up period previously set for April 21, 2009.

The Dutch electronics company received 50.7 million shares when it sold its set-top box business in April 2008.
Subsequently the fortunes of Pace have been transformed with the past history of profit warnings being replaced by upgrades in company forecasts. The latest took shares to a seven-year high of 155p on April 8.

In early trading this morning the share price stood at 143.50p. Philips said it was expecting to book proceeds of 76 million, a non-taxable gain of 48 million.

JP Morgan Cazenove, which is handling the placement, said the process would complete after Friday trading.
Pace currently makes receivers for platform operators including BSkyB, Foxtel, Premiere, Sky Italia, UPC and Comcast.