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UPDATE 2-Michelin exits Hankook Tire in $556 mln stake sale

* Michelin sells entire 9.98 pct stake in Hankook for $556 mln

* Sale at 12 pct discount to Hankook’s Tuesday close

* Deals seen ending 8-yr partnership, Hankook shares down 8 pct

* Hankook-Michelin tie up wasn’t effective - analysts

* Stake sale comes after Hankook shares hit record high (Adds comments)

SEOUL, Nov 9 (Reuters) - French tyre maker Michelin , the second largest shareholder in Hankook Tire , exited the South Korean firm in a deal worth 623 billion won ($555.7 million) and seen as ending the companies’ eight-year partnership.

Hankook shares fell 8 percent on Wednesday after Michelin said it sold all its 15.2 million shares, or its 9.98 percent stake, in the company. Shares in South Korea’s top tyre maker had hit a record high on Nov. 4.

Michelin sold the stake at 26.64 euros per share, or 41,000 won, a 12 percent discount to Tuesday’s closing price. The offer price range was 43,000-45,000 won per share, a source had told Reuters.

The tyre makers entered a partnership in 2003 and Michelin took a 6.24 percent stake in Hankook in 2006. It later boosted the stake to 9.98 percent. Founder and Chairman Cho Yang-rai is the single largest shareholder in the company with a 15.99 percent stake.

“The cooperation was not effective. Their partnership wasn’t seen in distribution channels. So even if (Hankook) loses Michelin, it would not impact Hankook fundamentally,” said Lee Sang-hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

Michelin said the proceeds of the sale will allow it to accelerate its industrial strategy in high-growth markets.

Hong Kong-based Finance Asia reported that sightly more than 50 investors took part in the transaction, including long-only investors and hedge funds.

Citigroup acted as sole bookrunner for the deal.

Shares in Hankook Tire were down 8.2 percent at 42,850 won at 0219 GMT. ($1 = 1121.050 Korean won) (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in SINGAPORE; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Vinu Pilakkott)

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