BP backs Rosneft bid for stake in TNK-BP: Kommersant

Published October 20, 2012

| Reuters

BP has approved Russian group Rosneft's bid to buy out the British oil company's stake 50 percent stake in its Russian joint venture TNK-BP , Kommersant reported.

Separately, the Financial Times reported that BP's board would continue its discussion on the matter over the weekend, adding the reception given to the bid was generally favorable.

BP is ready to cede its stake in TNK-BP, Russia's third largest oil producer, to Rosneft, strengthening the Russian state company's grip on the energy sector.

A source told Reuters on Friday while the offer was "clean" and there were no other plans on the table, the board could take time to consider it.

Kommersant reported that an offer of $17 billion cash and nearly 13 percent of Rosneft stock had been approved outright. At Rosneft's market value of $73 billion, that would be a deal value of more than $26 billion for stake in TNK-BP.

BP was not available for comment. Rosneft declined to comment.

Sources have said a three-way deal could soon emerge, with details to be hammered out during a visit to London this week by Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin.

They said BP and the AAR consortium of four tycoons - Len Blavatnik, Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Viktor Vekselberg - which owns the other 50 percent of TNK-BP could emerge with minority stakes in an enlarged Rosneft plus billions of dollars cash in exchange for the highly profitable company.

(Reporting By Melissa Akin; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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