UPDATE 1-Activist White Tale sells Clariant stake to Saudi's SABIC

(Adds Clariant, SABIC comments)

ZURICH/DUBAI, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Activist investor White Tale has sold its nearly 25 percent stake in speciality chemicals group Clariant to Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the companies said on Thursday.

The sale of its entire stake comes despite White Tale's previous assertions that it was a long-term investor in Clariant, which had snubbed the activist's demands for an independent strategic review and three seats on its board of directors.

Clariant shares have risen by nearly a third since White Tale's initial 7.2 percent investment emerged in July.

Clariant's shares were 0.6 percent lower in premarket indications on Thursday.

SABIC did not say how much it paid for the deal, but the stake is worth $2.4 billion based on its market capitalisation.

"Clariant AG is complementary to SABIC's existing specialties business and is well in line with SABIC's strategy of opening up new growth opportunities in specialty chemicals," said Yousef al-Benyan, SABIC's CEO, in a statement.

SABIC, the world's number 4 chemical firm, said it currently had no plans to launch a full takeover of Clariant.

Clariant in a statement took note that "chemical industry peer and partner SABIC" had bought the 24.99 percent stake, making it Clariant's biggest investor.

It said Clariant was informed in advance of the deal by petrochemical producer SABIC, already a partner of Clariant in a catalyst joint venture.

"Clariant intends to engage with SABIC over the coming weeks in order to discuss the new situation and explore possible ways to create value. Clariant will also continue the existing dialogue with all its other shareholders," it said.

SABIC Chief Executive Yousef al-Benyan told Reuters in November his company planned to spend $3-10 billion on acquisitions over the next five years in specialties and agri-nutrients and was looking at two producers of speciality plastics with operations in Europe, the Middle East and China.

White Tale had last year blocked Clariant's $20 billion merger with U.S. peer Huntsman, saying the proposed tie-up undervalued the Swiss company and the thinking behind the deal did not make sense.

(Reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich and Saeed Azhar in Dubai, editing by John Revill)