BP’s Russian billionaire partners in TNK-BP have hired Rothschild Group to help organize a loan to buy the British oil major’s entire 50 percent stake in the joint venture, AAR spokesman Mikhail Loskutov said on Monday.
“Late last week, the AAR consortium hired Rothschild Group to help syndicate banks to finance a deal for the repurchase of BP’s stake in TNK-BP,” Loskutov told Prime news agency.
Rothschild will soon launch talks with the banking community to help finance the deal. The funds will be raised by TNK-BP rather than by AAR, he said.
The Alfa Access-Renova (AAR) consortium of four Russian shareholders, which holds a 50 percent stake in TNK-BP, announced last week it intended to make a new offer to BP to repurchase its entire 50 percent holding for cash.
The Russian billionaire partners had previously indicated their desire to buy only half of BP’s stake in the 50/50 joint oil venture at market value. Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, a member of AAR, previously estimated the 25 percent share package to be worth $7-10 billion, in an offer rejected by BP.
Under the TNK-BP shareholder agreement, BP has 90 days for “good faith negotiations with AAR,” during which it may not sell its stake to other bidders. This term expires in mid-October. These discussions, however, do not preclude BP from holding negotiations with other interested parties, and a deal with them is possible if AAR’s offer proves to be worse for the company and its shareholders.
So far, BP has achieved greater progress in talks with state-run oil giant Rosneft, which has offered to buy BP’s entire 50 percent stake in the Russian joint oil venture and is already negotiating raising $10-15 billion in loans from banks to finance a potential cash and shares deal with the British oil major.