Ahead of the Bell: Cobalt slides in premarket

January 16, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cobalt shares fell before Wednesday's opening bell after the oil and natural gas driller said some of its biggest investors were selling 40 million of their shares.

The investment firms Carlyle Group LP, First Reserve Corp., Kern Partners Ltd. and investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which together own about 52 percent of the company, are each selling a portion of their holdings, Cobalt said late Tuesday. Another 6 million shares may also be sold.

After the sale is complete, the firms will no longer hold a majority of Cobalt's shares.

Cobalt International Energy Inc., which is based in Houston, has nearly 411 million outstanding shares — nearly 10 percent of its stock outstanding is being sold. The sale of a large bloc of shares at once can weigh on a company's stock price.

Cobalt did not say at which price the shares were being sold. Its stock closed Tuesday at $26.75, up 43 percent over the past 12 months.

The driller will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering, which is expected to close Friday.

In premarket trading Wednesday, Cobalt shares fell $1.75, or 6.5 percent, to $25.