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Yukos urged to salvage merger

Moscow/London, Dec. 10 (Reuters): Yukos shareholders have told management to seek talks with estranged merger partner Sibneft to see if the deal can be salvaged, sources at the embattled Russian oil firm said yesterday.

One source said representatives of both core and minority shareholders at a meeting in London had authorised the management to reopen talks.

The source was unable to say what concessions, if any, the Yukos shareholders were prepared to make in order to save the $11 billion merger but said they had agreed to give management “all authority to negotiate further in order to get discussions open again.”

While Yukos shareholders have said they want to save the deal, they are getting clear signals that Sibneft shareholders want out, another source close to Yukos said.

The Financial Times, citing sources close to Sibneft, reported on its web edition that Sibneft’s main shareholder, Roman Abramovich, and Yukos’ largest shareholders had called off the merger.

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