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Top-5 shareholder backs Scout24 management in clash with Elliott

Credit: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE

Fund manager Baillie Gifford on Friday threw its weight behind the management team at German classifieds group Scout24, which has faced calls from activist investor Elliott Advisors to break up the business.

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FRANKFURT, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Fund manager Baillie Gifford on Friday threw its weight behind the management team at German classifieds group Scout24 G24n.DE, which has faced calls from activist investor Elliott Advisors to break up the business.

Baillie Gifford, one of the five biggest shareholders in Scout24, said it had confidence in the team headed by CEO Tobias Hartmann and that a period of calm and stability was needed for the company to execute on strategy.

"We want to support the management to achieve its future goals rather than seeking to deliver a short-term return at the expense of long-term value creation for shareholders," fund manager Jenny Davis said in a statement to Reuters.

Scout24 said this week it would explore a sale or spin-off of its autos platform, bowing to a demand by Elliott which reckons the business could fetch as much as 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) from the right buyer.

The pressure from Elliott follows a failed private equity bid to take over Scout24 at 46 euros a share, which management

had recommended to shareholders.

Baillie Gifford voted against that deal, but said its conviction in the business had strengthened on the basis of constructive conversations with CEO Hartmann and Scout24 Chairman Hans-Holger Albrecht.

The fund manager owns 3.6% of Scout24, compared to Elliott's stake of 7.5%. Scout24 shares traded up 1% at 52 euros in Frankfurt.

($1 = 0.9022 euros)

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine, editing by Riham Alkousaa/Keith Weir)

((douglas.busvine@tr.com; +49 69 7565 1271; Reuters Messaging: douglas.busvine.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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