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Kremlin Fund Said to Seek $100 Million of Moscow Exchange

The Russian Direct Investment Fund will seek to buy as much as $100 million of stock in the Moscow Exchange’s initial public offering, according to a person with knowledge of the Kremlin-backed private-equity fund’s plan, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Russia’s main equity and fixed-income bourse is accepting bids through Feb. 14 and will start trading Feb. 15 in the capital after an IPO expected to raise at least 15 billion rubles ($500 million), according to a statement on Feb. 4. The exchange’s shares, marketed in Europe and in the U.S. as well as at home, will trade only in Russia.

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager, bought shares in the Moscow Exchange from RDIF in September, the fund said in a statement on Sept. 28. RDIF had a 2.7 percent holding in the bourse after boosting its stake in July with Cartesian Capital Group LLC, the fund’s Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev said in July.

“We’ve already invested quite a bit in the exchange so we do not expect to continue investing prior to the IPO,” Dmitriev said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Ryan Chilcote on Jan. 25. “Some of the existing investors may want to participate in the IPO.”

RDIF and Quinn Martin, a spokesman for the bourse, each declined to comment on the plan, which was reported earlier today by the Vedomosti newspaper.

Russia’s Central Bank holds 22 percent in the exchange, while state-controled OAO Sberbank owns 9.6 percent, and Vnesheconombank, Russia’s development bank, holds 8 percent, according to the exchange’s website.

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