BP, Russian Partners Sell Venture to Rosneft
By James Marson and Selina Williams
BP PLC confirmed it is selling its stake in its troubled Russian venture TNK-BP in a deal that will make the British giant a one-fifth holder of the Kremlin’s oil champion, a company that will control nearly 40% of Russian output.
The $26.8 billion cash-and-stock sale to OAO Rosneft ROSN.RS -3.16% reflects a massive bet by the British giant on a state-controlled company to help secure BP’s future in the world’s largest energy-producing nation.
Rosneft, through the BP deal and another one announced Monday to pay $28 billion for the other half of TNK-BP from the Soviet-born tycoons who own it, will be transformed into the largest publicly traded oil producer in the world. That marks a stunning turnabout for a company that was nearly taken over by state gas giant OAO Gazprom OGZPY +0.70% less than a decade ago.
The deals were blessed Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin, a close ally in his drive over the last decade to re-establish state control over the Russian oil industry.
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