Stelios sells £20m of easyJet shares

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The Independent Online

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the entrepreneur behind easyJet, has sold more of his holding in the no-frills airline, pocketing around £20m, to fund new ventures.

Mr Haji-Ioannou's holding is now down to 18 per cent, from the 25 per cent stake he was left with when the company floated in 2000. The airline announced yesterday that Mr Haji-Ioannou, who is no longer on the board, had sold 8 million shares last week. The shares yesterday closed down 7p at 248p.

Mr Haji-Ioannou, the son of a Greek shipping magnate, said: "As I have been consistently saying for a while, from time to time, I will be selling a bit of my past to finance my future. As I am working on the launch of four new ventures (easyBus, easyPizza, easyDorm and easyCruise), I have to rebalance my portfolio between cash, listed equities, unlisted companies and risky start-ups."

As well as the new businesses, some of the money raised may go towards the existing start-ups, which are all loss-making and include easyCar, a car rental business, easyInternetcafe and easyCinema.

The new ventures are financed personally by Mr Haji-Ioannou and held in the private easyGroup. All the businesses seek to offer consumers more flexible cheaper deals. For instance, easyPizza will deliver food for as little as £1, if customers are willing to take the pizza in the middle of the afternoon.