Russian billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin have revived a years-old battle for control of the country’s biggest mining company, MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC.
The two tycoons each own roughly 30 percent of Norilsk Nickel and have long jockeyed for power in the company, which operates some of the richest mines in platinum, palladium and nickel, until President Vladimir Putin intervened in 2012. An agreement let a company controlled by Roman Abramovich buy a small stake in Norilsk Nickel in exchange for a promise to keep the peace.
Abramovich’s Crispian Investment Ltd. now wants to sell part of the stake, according to three people familiar with matter. The holding was about 5 percent at the start of 2017, implying a current value of more than $1.5 billion.
That’s kicked off a court battle in London. Deripaska, who controls United Co. Rusal, is trying to stop Abramovich from selling the stake because he believes it may tip more power to Potanin, according to people familiar, who asked not to be identified as the information hadn’t been made public.
“Investors are worried about the new feud in the company,” Oleg Petropavlovskiy, an analyst at BCS Global Markets, said by phone. Norilsk Nickel shares fell as much as 12 percent on Friday, the most since 2014. Rusal lost as much as 6.9 percent in Moscow.
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