FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Elliott Investment Management has taken a stake in Fresenius SE, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday, sparking speculation the activist investor might push for a break up of the diversified healthcare company.

Fresenius and Elliott were not immediately available for comment.

Shares in the company, which is controlled by charitable trust Else Kroener Fresenius-Stiftung, were up 9% at 1202 GMT.

Before the news, shares in Fresenius had lost about 40% this year, in part because of ballooning costs at subsidiary Fresenius Medical Care.

Bloomberg earlier cited people familiar with the matter as saying Elliott would work towards a break-up of the group.

Fresenius SE’s long-serving Chief Executive Stephan Sturm left this month and was replaced by the former head of its drugs unit, after the company’s earnings were hit following the COVID pandemic and a surge in costs at FMC.

New CEO Michael Sen gathered experience in corporate restructuring in past roles as a management board member of Siemens and finance chief of E.ON.

Shares in separately listed FMC, the world’s largest kidney dialysis provider, were up 4.6%.

Fresenius, which also runs hospitals, makes generic drugs and helps plan hospital construction projects, has said net income would decline this year.

($1 = 0.9805 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Patricia Weiss and Hans Seidenstuecker, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Mark Potter)

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