Billionaire Vekselberg Weighing Purchase of Onexim’s Rusal Stake

  • Tycoon says acquisition is being ‘seriously considered’
  • Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim seeks buyers for 17% Rusal stake

Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg said he’s weighing the purchase of a stake in United Co. Rusal from Mikhail Prokhorov’s investment vehicle, Onexim Group.

The acquisition is being “seriously considered,” Vekselberg said in an interview in Vladivostok Friday. He declined to give any details on the terms of a potential sale.

Onexim made informal approaches this year to sell its 17 percent stake to two other Rusal partners -- Sual, a group led by Vekselberg, and Glencore Plc, people said in July, asking not be identified because the discussions were private. Separately, billionaire Suleiman Kerimov’s son, Said, made an offer to acquire Onexim’s stake in Rusal, Interfax reported the same month.

Rusal, the largest aluminum producer outside China, is listed in Hong Kong, where it has a market value of about $5.4 billion, valuing Onexim stake at about $900 million.

Prokhorov obtained the Rusal stake in 2008, when he sold his holding in GMK Norilsk Nickel PJSC to the aluminum company. The billionaire is gradually cutting his assets in Russian commodity companies and sold his 20 percent stake in potash miner Uralkali PJSC in July.

Onexim’s press service declined to comment.

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