Russian Billionaire Prokhorov Said to Weigh Sale of Rusal Stake

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, center.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s investment vehicle, Onexim, is considering selling its stake in United Co. Rusal, the country’s largest aluminum producer, according to two people familiar with situation.

Onexim made informal approaches in the past three months to sell its 17 percent stake to two other Rusal partners, Sual, a group led by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, and Glencore Plc, the people said, asking not be identified because the discussions are private. No official talks were held because the two sides have different views on the value of the stake. While Onexim wants a premium to the current value, the potential buyers aren’t ready to offer it, the people said. Rusal is listed in Hong Kong, where it has a market value of about $4.9 billion.

Rusal, Sual and Glencore declined to comment.

As well as stakes in Rusal and other commodity companies, Prokhorov controls Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital and media group RBC, where several senior editors resigned in May after it ran stories on Vladimir Putin’s daughter and son-in-law. Outside Russia, Prokhorov, the country’s seventh-richest man with a fortune of $10 billion, owns the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and the Barclays Center arena where they play.

Vedomosti newspaper reported earlier on Monday that Onexim plans to sell all its assets in Russia.

In a statement today, Onexim said it’s been holding talks about the sale of some of its assets for years, but it’s wrong to say that it wants to exit Russia. The group is keen to remain an investor in the country, where it will focus on developing financial assets, it added.

Onexim is in advanced talks to sell a stake in miner Uralkali PJSC, people said in June. It’s also been seeking to sell utility Quadra for a couple of years and has been in negotiations with banker Roman Avdeev on selling property developer Opin PJSC.

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