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Scottish fund Baillie Gifford cuts stake in Spain's DIA

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MADRID (Reuters) – Baillie Gifford has cut its stake in Spanish supermarket group DIA <DIDA.MC> to 5.6 from 8.5 percent, the third time in less than a month that the Scottish fund has reduced its holding.

A long economic crisis helped boost discount retailer DIA’s market share, but it has struggled since an economic rebound put more cash in Spaniards’ pockets.

Baillie Gifford, whose DIA holding had been above 10 percent since April 2015, declined to comment on Friday on the sale.

DIA, which has lost more than two-thirds of its market value since a 2015 peak, appointed a new chief executive in August and is due to present a strategic plan by the end of the year.

Last week, shareholder LetterOne, controlled by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman, stoked speculation it might launch a takeover bid after informing Spain’s market regulator it had raised its stake to 29 percent.

Under Spanish law, an investor must launch a full takeover bid once its stake reaches 30 percent stake.

On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs told the Spanish stock market supervisor it had raised its stake to close to 16 percent.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, writing by Jesús Aguado; editing by Alexander Smith)

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