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Shell to sell down most of Woodside stake for $5.7 bln

MELBOURNE, June 17 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell launched a long-awaited sell down of its stake in Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd on Tuesday, looking to reap about $5.73 billion.

The deal included Woodside agreeing to buy back 78.3 million of its shares from Shell for A$36.49 a share, or a total of A$2.857 billion ($2.69 billion), Woodside said.

At the same time, Shell agreed to sell a further 78.3 million shares to institutional investors at A$41.35 a share, or A$3.238 billion.

That would reduce Shell's stake in Woodside to 4.5 percent from 23.1 percent. ($1 = 1.0639 Australian Dollars)

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Paul Tait)