An unknown institutional investor has collected HK$2.57 billion by offloading its entire stake in Wing Lung Bank, according to sources. Wing Lung's founding family recently agreed to sell its controlling stake to China Merchants Bank. Yesterday, some 17.1 million Wing Lung shares were placed and sold at a strike price of HK$150.55 per share, representing a 1.6 per cent discount to Thursday's closing price of HK$153, according to a sale document given to fund managers. 'The sale was completed within an hour of its 11am launch,' said a source close to the offering. 'Long-only funds are the main buyers.' The shares on offer were equal to 7.3 per cent of Wing Lung's existing share capital. Morgan Stanley was the sole bookrunner. Shares of Wing Lung Bank fell 0.13 per cent to close at HK$152.80. Shenzhen-based Merchants Bank last week announced its plan to acquire from the founding Wu family a 53.12 per cent stake or 123.3 million shares, at an offer price of HK$156.50 per share, for a total of HK$19.3 billion. Upon receiving shareholder and regulatory approval, Merchants Bank would be required to make a general offer for all issued Wing Lung shares at the same offer price. That would mean a total cash price of 32.4 billion yuan (HK$36.67 billion) for the entire bank. Merchants Bank said earlier that it perceived the local lender to be a quality franchise in Hong Kong with solid financials and a good network, with a highly loyal clientele and an experienced management team. To strengthen its capital reserve for the anticipated acquisition, Merchants Bank said on Thursday that it would sell up to 30 billion yuan of subordinated debt to domestic and overseas investors, after getting shareholder approval. It is the biggest bond sale for the bank and is also its first attempt to tap the Hong Kong bond market. The overseas tranche would not exceed 10 billion yuan, and the rest would be sold to mainland investors, the bank said.