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Hedge fund Elliott buys stake in Saga

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(Reuters) – Activist investor Elliott has taken a position in Britain’s Saga Plc <SAGAG.L>, less than a month after the specialist tourism and insurance firm warned that discounting was taking a heavy toll on its tours business.

Elliott Capital Advisors disclosed a 5.14% stake in Saga as at July 12, a filing showed on Wednesday.

Saga, which is looking to find a new chief executive officer after Lance Batchelor announced his departure last week, has been trying to shake off its image as only serving “old people” and had begun rebranding after a profit warning in April.

Saga’s shares, widely held by retail investors since it floated at 185 pence in 2014, have slumped 59% this year and are down 81% from their peak in 2016.

The stock was seen 10% higher in early trade.

The profit warning and continued fall in Saga’s market value have raised concerns about Saga’s debt, which it has been trying to reduce. Saga also warned in June that an overhaul of its insurance arm has yet to take effect.

In April Saga said older Britons were cutting back on travel because of uncertainty over Britain’s planned exit from the European Union and its bookings were being hit.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Louise Heavens)

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