Polyus Jumps to 3-Month High on Possible Buyout: Moscow Mover

Polyus Gold International Ltd. climbed in London to a three-month high after saying it’s in an “offer period” that may result in a mandatory buyout offer for all the Russian gold producer’s shares.

Polyus jumped 1.2 percent to 218.75 pence by 10:15 a.m. in London, the highest since getting a primary listing on June 19. Shares in its Russian unit advanced 2.8 percent to 1,085.50 rubles in Moscow.

Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Holdings Ltd. is looking at selling some or all of its $4 billion stake in Polyus, Onexim said yesterday. Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, whose Nafta Moskva holds 40.2 percent of Polyus, and Polymetal International Plc held discussions, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Sept. 11. Nafta Moskva said it may back a buyer and isn’t planning to acquire shares.

“Investors are realizing that if Prokhorov leaves, the company’s future will be less clouded, since he has political ambitions,” Ilya Makarov, an analyst at Aton LLC in Moscow, said by phone. “Prokhorov’s presence in Polyus is more negative right now than positive.”

Prokhorov ran for president against Vladimir Putin in March and in June said he wants to run for mayor of Moscow.

Should any party acquire more than 30 percent of the voting rights in Polyus, it may be required to bid for all the shares, the company said today in a regulatory statement. The buyout offer may also apply to any party with a stake of 30 percent to 50 percent that acquires additional voting rights, the company said.

If Prokhorov sells, the buyer will probably be a group of investors, rather than Kerimov himself, which may eliminate the need to make an offer to minority shareholders, Mikhail Stiskin, an analyst at Troika Dialog in Moscow, said yesterday.

Kerimov may be trying to convince oligarchs close to him to buy the stake, Makarov said.

Prokhorov is the world’s 56th richest man according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a fortune estimated at $13.7 billion. About 40 percent, or as much as $5.64 billion, comes from commodities companies, including Onexim’s 37.8 percent of Polyus and stakes in United Co. Rusal and Intergeo.

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