Peter Thiel has sold down his investment in Xero

Peter Thiel. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

United States billionaire businessman and Trump supporter Peter Thiel has further sold down his stake in Wellington software company Xero and is no longer classed as a “substantial shareholder.”

Xero said in a release to the NZX that Thiel had reduced his holding from 5.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent, for just under $23m.

The divestment brings his investment under the 5 per cent threshold where his share movements would need to be disclosed.

Thiel had previously sold down his stake from 6.7 per cent to 5.7 between July and September, cashing in $15 million-worth of shares.

Thiel’s shares were owned through United States investment company Valar Ventures.

The Crown-owned New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) attracted controversy in 2012 when it elected to invest alongside Valar Ventures in a range of investments which included an earlier purchase by Valar of Xero shares.

NZVIF was accused of ignoring its mandate, which was to encourage investment in early-stage companies.

The rules under which NZVIF invests alongside venture capital firms on terms that are favourable to their private investors have since been revised.

Thiel first invested in Xero shares in 2011 when they were worth only about $1.60. Xero shares were trading at $19.99 on Thursday morning.

This article first appeared on See the original article here.

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