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Hedge fund Elliott raises stake in BHP in push for change

Australian mining company BHP's corporate logo is seen at their Melbourne, Australia, headquarters May 15, 2017. BHP/Handout via REUTERS.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Hedge fund Elliott Management has raised its stake in BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) to 5 percent, bolstering its position to agitate for change at the top global miner, but signaled its support for the incoming chairman.

New York-based Elliott launched its effort in April, at which point it held a 4.1 percent "economic interest" in BHP's UK-listed shares, calling for the company to quit all or part of its petroleum business, boost returns and ditch its dual listing.

BHP has rejected Elliott's proposals as flawed or too costly, but Elliott said it was seeing signs of change.

"BHP appears to have already taken steps toward a smarter, more value-generative way of conducting business, and we support and encourage continued progress," Elliott said in a statement on Wednesday.

The activist investor said it now holds 5 percent of BHP's UK-listed shares, and also holds a small economic interest in BHP's Australian...