Potanin rejects $19 bln offer for Norilsk stake

Billionaire Vladimir Potanin has declined a $19.2 billion for a 30 percent stake in Russia’s Norilsk Nickel metals producer from Viktor Vekselberg and Leonard Blavatnik, Vedomosti business daily quoted sources as saying on Friday.

Norilsk Nickel has been the center of a conflict between Potanin and RusAl aluminum company owner Oleg Deripaska, which started last June after an annual shareholders’ meeting when Potanin’s investment vehicle Interros increased its representation, weakening Deripaska’s position. Deripaska holds a quarter of Norilsk.

Vedomosti quoted sources close to RusAl’s shareholders as saying that Vekselberg and Blavatnik, who have small holdings in RusAl, made the offer in late April in an effort to put an end to the conflict and create Russia’s largest metals holding company.

The companies declined to comment.

Interros has also tried to resolve the conflict by offering to buy RusAl’s stake in Norilsk for $12 billion and 20 percent of its shares for $12.8 billion but the aluminum company rejected both offers.

At a recent extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, Interros gained four seats on Norilsk board, while RusAl and Norilsk management, regarded as being close to Interros, got two seats each. RusAl’s nominee chairs the board.

MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti)

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