Templeton's Mobius urges "fair and equitable" TNK-BP buyout

Reuters

MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Emerging markets fund managerMark Mobius appealed on Saturday for Russian oil company Rosneft to make a "fair and equitable" offer to buy outminority shareholders in oil company TNK-BP.

Mobius denied reports on Russian news agencies of a meetingwith Igor Sechin, CEO of the state oil major, to discuss abuyout. In comments to Reuters, he said minorities had not yet,as far as he knew, received a formal offer.

Minority shareholders own 5 percent of TNK-BP Holding, a listed unit of TNK-BP. The parent company was soldby a quartet of Russian tycoons and by Britain's BP toRosneft in a $55 billion deal that closed this spring.

Rosneft initially made no offer to buy out those investors,which include Mobius's Franklin Templeton investment group, butlast month proposed 67 roubles ($2.07) per share aftercomplaints that it was short-changing minorities.

That represented a premium of 30 percent to the share priceat the time, but was well below the $3.70 that analysts estimateRosneft paid for TNK-BP in Russia's largest takeover deal.

"We hope that Rosneft comes up with an offer which would beconsidered fair and equitable," Mobius said in comments emailedto Reuters from Greece.

"This should be a win-win situation where Rosneft'sreputation for fairness to minority investors is enhanced andthe former shareholders of TNK-BP feel that they have beentreated fairly."

Rosneft told Reuters earlier that it was unable to confirmthe reports about a meeting. A Rosneft source confirmed thatMobius had written a letter to Sechin, who is a close formeraide to President Vladimir Putin.

Putin on Friday appeared to rule out any improvement in theoffer price.

"The valuation and payouts should be carried out for thosewho wish to sell not at peak levels but today's market price,"Putin said at the opening of a Rosneft oil refinery.

"That should be the basis. No one should be deceived orrobbed."

Shares in TNK-BP Holding, now renamed RN Holding, closed onFriday at 63.40 roubles ($1.97) per share, slightly belowRosneft's suggested buyout offer price of 67 roubles.

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