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TNK-BP Billionaires Plan Global Oil, Telecom Deals After Sale

With $14 billion from selling out of TNK-BP, Mikhail Fridman and German Khan’s Alfa Group is planning to return to the oil industry and expand worldwide, according to Stan Polovets, chief executive officer of the Alfa- Access-Renova Consortium, which owned the Russian oil venture 50:50 with BP Plc. (BP/)

The Alfa billionaires are setting up a global investment company for oil and gas and telecommunications projects, with offices in Moscow and London, said Polovets by phone from New York.

Alfa Group is forming a team of international oil and gas professionals, interviewing several senior executives from global investment banks and private equity firms, according to Polovets. The company may also bring in managers from TNK-BP, BP and other international oil companies, he said.

Alfa, Viktor Vekselberg’s Renova Group and Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings agreed to sell their half of TNK-BP to state-run OAO Rosneft for $28 billion last year after BP said it was looking to exit the venture, Russia’s third-largest oil producer. BP will get $12.3 billion and an 18.5 percent stake in Rosneft in its deal for its stake.

Khan held more than 15 meetings in London last month, Polovets said. Among them were BP chiefs John Browne, who oversaw the formation of TNK-BP, and Tony Hayward, Reuters reported last week. The meetings were exploratory, not focused on any specific opportunities, according to Polovets.

New York Meetings

The Alfa billionaires are exploring potential investment opportunities and aren’t seeking additional shareholders in its investment company, Polovets said.

More meetings are planned for New York and possibly Houston in April, Polovets said. The billionaires are meeting with oil companies, oilfield service providers, private equity funds and investment banks, he said.

Fridman had said Alfa planned to remain invested in oil before BP’s decision to sell to Russia’s biggest crude producer, which is run by Igor Sechin, a former deputy of President Vladimir Putin.

Alfa is a shareholder, via its Altimo division, in VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP), which was formed with Telenor ASA (TEL) from Russian wireless holdings of the same name and Ukrainian assets and has since completed a merger with Italy’s Wind Telecom SpA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torrey Clark in Moscow at tclark8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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