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Soros Said to Be Among Investors Buying Bankia Shares

Billionaire George Soros is among investors who bought shares in nationalized lender Bankia SA during a sale by the Spanish government last week, said a person familiar with the information.

Soros Fund Management was ranked sixth among 95 investors or investment funds for the amount of shares purchased in the 1.3 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) offering, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Spain sold 7.5 percent of the country’s fourth-biggest bank, reducing its stake to 61 percent, as its state-owned parent started offloading the shares on Feb. 28.

A spokesman for Bankia, who asked not to be identified in line with company policy, declined to comment by telephone. Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, declined to comment in an e-mailed response to questions.

Bankia climbed 5 percent to 1.548 euros in Madrid trading, the biggest increase in three weeks and taking gains since the start of the year to 25 percent.

Soros is among investors betting on a Spanish recovery by buying shares in banks and real estate. Paulson & Co., the hedge fund firm founded by billionaire John Paulson, is investing in Spanish real estate company Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios that plans to raise as much as 550 million euros in an initial public offering, according to a prospectus published yesterday.

Reuters reported the Bankia investment by Soros earlier.

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