UPDATE 2-U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross to sell landmark Bank of Ireland investment

Mon Jun 9, 2014 4:04pm EDT
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* Ross expected to see profit of over 150 pct

* Purchase was early sign of confidence in Ireland

* Says remains positive on bank's prospects

* EBA restrictions on board memberships a factor in sale (Adds Ross saying bank's prospects good, analysis, background)

By Laura Noonan and Freya Berry

LONDON/DUBLIN, June 9 (Reuters) - U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross will sell his entire holding in Bank of Ireland (BoI) three years after his pioneering investment kept the struggling bank out of state hands, but he said he remained confident about its prospects.

Ross, whose fund specialises in distressed assets, was among a group of North American investors who bought a 35 percent stake only months after Ireland signed up to an EU/IMF bailout in an early vote of confidence in the debt-ravaged country.

He is set to make a healthy profit on the deal, with two sources familiar with the matter saying the shares would be priced at between 26 and 27.5 euro cents each, compared with the 10 cents the bank was trading at when Ross bought the stake.

This is "definitely not a negative comment on BoI or Ireland... This has been a terrific investment for us and our investors," Ross told Reuters in response to emailed questions.   Continued...