Desmarais estate and trust sell 15.5 million Power Corp. subordinate shares

MONTREAL – The estate of Paul G. Desmarais and the Desmarais Family Residuary Trust reduced their stakes in Power Corp. of Canada on Tuesday, selling nearly 15.5 million shares in an estate planning move.

The liquidators and trustees of the estate and the family trust said they sold 15,461,750 subordinate voting shares of Power Corp. of Canada (TSX:POW) and 87,318 shares of Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX:GWO).

Based on the companies’ share prices Tuesday, the sale would have totalled about $480 million.

The estate and trust still hold or control, directly and through wholly-owned holding corporations, 48,603,392 participating preferred shares and 48,363,392 subordinate voting shares of Power Corp., representing 99.49 per cent and 11.76 per cent respectively, of each share class.

Paul Desmarais Sr., who built Power Corp. into the multibillion-dollar empire it is today, died last year at the age of 86.

Power Corp. holds a controlling stake in Power Financial (TSX:PWF), parent company to Great-West Lifeco. (TSX:GWO) and IGM Financial (TSX:IGM), two of Canada’s largest non-bank financial services companies.

Among its other holdings, Power Corp. has media interests that include a stake in The Canadian Press news agency through its Gesca subsidiary.