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Polyus Gold Advances as Prokhorov Sells Stake: Moscow Mover

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Polyus Gold International Ltd climbed after Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov sold 37.8 percent in the gold producer to two fellow Russian billionaires for $3.62 billion.

Polyus gained as much as 5 percent and closed 0.3 percent higher at 219.75 pence in London trading. The company’s Moscow traded unit advanced 3.4 percent.

The U.K. Takeover Panel approved Zelimkhan Mutsoev, a shareholder in potash producer OAO Uralkali, and Gavriil Yushvaev, a former owner of dairy and juice maker Wimm-Bill-Dann, as buyers of the stake, according to a statement today from Prokhorov investment vehicle Onexim Group.

The two businessmen were proposed for the deal by Nafta Moskva, the investment firm controlled by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov who holds 40 percent of Polyus, three people with knowledge of the situation said in January, declining to be identified as the matter was private.

“Although the deal was expected, Prokhorov’s exit is positive as now Kerimov will most likely define Polyus’ strategy and operations will be more effective,” Valentina Bogomolova, an analyst at Uralsib Capital, said by phone from Moscow.

Diversify Interests

Prokhorov, a Russian presidential candidate in last year’s election won by Vladimir Putin, is switching out of commodities as he seeks to diversify his business interests. Onexim may sell its Quadra Power Generation utility to an OAO Gazprom unit, the Russian news agency Interfax said Feb. 21, citing people familiar with the situation.

Kerimov paid $1.3 billion for 37 percent of Polyus in a 2009 deal with billionaire Vladimir Potanin, the Vedomosti newspaper said at the time.

Mutsoev’s Lizarazu Ltd. bought 18.5 percent of Polyus Gold for $1.77 billion and Yushvaev’s Receza Ltd. bought 19.3 percent for $1.85 billion, according to Onexim’s statement. The gold producer has risen 15 percent since Jan. 14, after the three people said Prokhorov reached an agreement with investors.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in Moscow at; Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at

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