Rosneft lodges bid for BP stake in TNK-BP: sources

Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:57am EDT
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By Andrew Callus and Megan Davies

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) - State oil firm Rosneft tightened its grip on the Russian oil industry on Thursday, lodging a cash and shares bid for British oil company BP's 50 percent stake in the country's third-largest oil producer, TNK-BP.

Sources familiar with the actions of BP, Rosneft, their advisers and financiers said a bid had been submitted to BP that valued the whole of TNK-BP at over $50 billion and BP's half at more than $25 billion.

Rosneft has already made an offer to BP's partners in the venture, the AAR consortium owned by four Soviet-born tycoons.

The sources in London, Moscow and elsewhere have painted a picture of a three-way deal that could emerge over the coming weeks, with some details to be hammered out during a visit to London this week by Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin.

"BP is reviewing options (with regard to the offer)," said one source.

The sources said BP and the four tycoons could emerge with minority stakes in an enlarged Rosneft plus billions of dollars in cash in exchange for the highly profitable company.

The combined group would dominate Russia's increasingly state-controlled oil industry.

President Vladimir Putin has been determinedly regaining state control of assets that passed cheaply to a small group of businessmen when privatized in a hurry in the 1990s.   Continued...

A flag with a logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012. British oil firm BP has received an offer for its 50 percent stake in Russian oil producer TNK-BP from Russian state oil firm Rosneft , according to two sources familiar with the actions of the companies. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov