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By John Helmer, Moscow

On Monday morning, we reported:

“Supposing Fridman has convinced Sechin to put the Deripaska squeeze on Dudley, the buy-out price to remove AAR from TNK-BP, allowing BP to proceed with its Rosneft deal, would add 50% to TNK-BP’s market cap – that’s an extra $25.7 billion. AAR’s half-share of the new valuation would come to $38.5 billion. That amounts to one-quarter of BP.”

On Wednesday evening, the Financial Times reported:

“We have offered AAR a chance to participate in the Arctic. We have offered them cash. [BP] has offered them a very, very healthy sum at a premium for a buy-out of their shares and they have not negotiated with us to a degree that is anything near reality,” one person close to the talks said. The people close to the negotiations said AAR had demanded that a value of more than $70bn be placed on TNK-BP for a buy-out of their stake, including a share component that would have landed them “significant” stakes in BP and Rosneft of about 10 per cent.”

In 1998, during the Coen Brothers’movie, The Big Lebowski – if you didn’t recognize the provenance of the Dude, you can’t tell Walter Sobchak from Anatoly Sobchak — the following useful guidance was given on how to handle large sums of cash:

Walter Sobchak: When we make the handoff, I double back, grab one of ’em and beat it out of him! Huh?
The Dude: That’s a great plan, Walter. That’s fuckin’ ingenious, if I understand it correctly. It’s a Swiss fuckin’ watch

And then on how to negotiate in the real world:

Walter Sobchak: You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.
The Dude: Yeah, but Walter…
Walter Sobchak: Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon… with nail polish. These fucking amateurs…

Or as the FT reports the Dud (“one person close to the talks”) as allowing to be known: “ownership of 10 per cent of BP is not in the interests of BP shareholders to have in the hands of oligarchs”.

Walter Sobchak: Am I wrong?
The Dude: No you’re not wrong.
Walter Sobchak: Am I wrong?
The Dude: You’re not wrong Walter. You’re just an asshole.
Walter Sobchak: Okay then.

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