UPDATE 1-Japan's Recruit shareholders to sell down $4 bln worth of stock

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TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Japan’s staffing agency Recruit Holdings Co Ltd said on Monday its shareholders will sell 416.8 billion yen ($4 billion) worth of shares in the company as they continue to unwind cross-shareholdings.

Recruit’s shareholders, which include Dentsu Group Inc , Toppan Printing Co and Japanese television networks, will sell as many as 94.7 million shares in Recruit, or 5.59% of its outstanding shares to overseas investors, Recruit said in a statement.

This is the third sale of shares by Recruit’s shareholders since the company went public in 2014. The sale comes amid a years-long trend of Japanese companies unwinding cross-share holdings.

After the past two sales, the holdings in Recruit by its business partners have fallen to 24% as of September from 50% at the time of the listing, a Recruit spokeswoman said.

Japanese companies tend to hold stakes in each other, aiming to thwart bids from outsiders, but such practice has been criticized as it bucks the government push for better corporate governance.

Recruit said the shareholders would sell 86.1 million shares to the market, with an additional 8.6 million shares as an overallotment.

Advertising agency Dentsu said in a separate statement it expects to record a gain of about 183 billion yen ($1.76 billion) form the sale of Recruit shares.

The selling price will be decided either on Dec. 2 or Dec. 3.

Recruit also said it would buy back 70 billion yen worth of shares, or as many as 20 million shares, from the market to boost shareholder value.

$1 = 103.8800 yen Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Ed Osmond