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VTB Still Hanging On

VTB has been edging closer and closer to securing a majority stake in Bank of Moscow.  Last month, it was agreed that it would buy the Kremlin’s 46.5% stake (which, at $3.5 billion, was priced well above City Hall’s valuation of the bank), and its holding was due to cross the 50% mark with the further acquisition of a 3.9% share held by Goldman Sachs.  But a minority shareholder at the Bank of Moscow has ‘filed suit questioning whether VTB’s acquisition of the city government stake had correctly triggered Goldman Sachs’ right to sell the stake‘, causing the assets to be frozen.  They were released by a London court, but then immediately frozen again following an appeal.
According to the FT’s source, the wrangling simply comes down to a matter of price.  And if the numbers are correct on the acquisition of the Kremlin’s stake, they indicate that Goldman’s 3.9% stake is worth more than RIA Novosti’s quoted $247 million.  But RIA also suggests that the assets were frozen as the result of intervention by a source close to the Bank of Moscow’s President Andrei Borodin, who was initially resistant to VTB’s takeover bid… Watch this space.  The latest appeal is due to be considered in a week.