Spanish bank Bankia yesterday sold its 12.9% stake in International Airlines Group to institutional investors for €675 million.

The sale is being seen as positive for the parent company of British Airways and Iberia.

Diluting the 12.09% stake among many shareholders bolsters the liquidity of the shares and eliminates the possibility that the Bankia shares could fall into the hands of a potentially unfriendly acquirer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The €3.01 per share price for the 224.5 million shares sold marked a narrow 2.9% discount to IAG’s closing price Wednesday.

Bankia, IAG’s largest shareholder, had been forced by the European Commission to sell its stake in return for accepting state aid.