Billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway last week slashed its stake in the world's No.3 retailer, Tesco, by about one-fifth, or 300 million pounds, according to a stock market filing on Monday.
The move came two weeks after Tesco posted a decline in its first-half profit as earnings from mainland Europe tumbled 68 percent, and the grocer struggled to regain market share in its main British market. Tesco has been losing market share to rivals that include Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Asda and J Sainsbury, which this month reported a 2 percent rise in second-quarter sales.
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Tesco has also suffered in recent years from failed attempts to break into the United States and Japan, and a costly, still unprofitable, expansion in China.
Filings on the London Stock Exchange website show that on October 16 Berkshire cut its holding in Tesco to 3.98 percent from 4.98 percent. Tesco has a market capitalization of about 30.09 billion pounds.
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Berkshire's Marmon Group announced on the same day that it agreed to buy two businesses from British engineering company IMI for 690 million pounds.
Tesco and Berkshire Hathaway could not be reached for comment late on Monday.