INVESTOR GROUP RAISES HOLDINGS IN VENATOR TO 18.2%

NEW YORK — An investor group affiliated with the French asset management and insurance concern AXA Group has increased its stake in Venator Group Inc. to 18.2 percent.
The shares were acquired in the ordinary course of business and were not acquired for the purpose of changing or influencing the control of Venator, according to a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The AXA-affiliated companies disclosed in February they had bought 13.2 million shares — or 9.8 percent — of the stock.
Venator shares gained 1/2 to 7 15/16 on the New York Stock Exchange Friday. A spokesman for the group did not return a telephone call Friday.
AXA will likely be more passive than another major Venator stockholder, a group affiliated with Greenway Partners that owns 14 percent of the stock. Greenway, which lost a bid to have four nominees elected to Venator’s board at the company’s July 16 annual meeting, has also urged a change of name back to Woolworth and dismantle its shareholder rights plan.