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Why the IRESS share price sank 8% lower today

The IRESS Ltd (ASX: IRE) share price has been amongst the worst performers on the ASX 200 on Tuesday.

The shares of the technology solutions provider to financial markets fell as much as 8% in morning trade. At the time of writing they are around 6% lower at $12.30.

Why is the IRESS share price sinking lower today?

Today’s selling appears to be in relation to news that ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) has offloaded its 18.6% stake in the company to UBS.

According to its announcement, the sale has been fully underwritten by UBS at a fixed price of $11.95 per share and is expected to realise gross proceeds of $385 million.

I suspect that some of the fund managers that picked up shares in the offering could have been selling them today for a quick profit, putting pressure on its share price.

Why is ASX Ltd selling its stake?

Dominic Stevens, ASX’s managing director and CEO, said: “IRESS has been an attractive investment for ASX over many years. But we believe now is the right time to divest as it no longer provides the strategic value to ASX that it once did. ASX is focused on a multi-layered growth strategy built upon our position as an independent and reliable operator of financial market infrastructure.”

The transaction will generate a post-tax gain of $161 million and management is reviewing its options for the proceeds of the sale and will provide an update upon completion of the review.

What else has happened?

Interestingly, ASX Ltd isn’t the only shareholder that has been offloading shares.

According to a change of interests notice, substantial shareholder Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF) has just trimmed its holding down by around 2 million shares.

Late yesterday the annuities company revealed that it had cut its holding down from 12.2 million shares to just a touch over 10.3 million shares. This has reduced its ownership on a percentage basis from 7.05% to 5.96%.

Should you buy the dip?

Although it wouldn’t be my first pick in the industry, I think IRESS is a quality company and worth considering at these levels.

Last week it delivered a 10% increase in full year segment profit and provided guidance for more of the same in FY 2019.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Challenger Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of ASX Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended IRESS Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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