UPDATE 1-Former TNK-BP exec makes comeback with Matra

LONDON, April 11 Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:00am EDT

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LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - The former chief executive-designate of BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, who left the group after being sidelined, has made a comeback by buying into minnow explorer Matra Petroleum, which he may turn into a bid vehicle.

Maxim Barsky left his role as deputy CEO and CEO designate at TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer, in October, after BP and its Russian oligarch partners declined to elevate him to the top job.

He has paid 4.6 million pounds ($7.3 million) for a 29.8 percent stake in Matra. The money will be spent on helping the Russia-focused explorer to take "a more progressive new ventures strategy", it said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a sign Barsky plans to use Matra as an acquisition vehicle, the group has issued him warrants to subscribe for new shares at an exercise price of 1.3 pence apiece if he introduces a suitable acquisition target to Matra in the next 12 months.

The warrants would entitle Barsky to 5 percent of any new shares Matra issues to make the acquisition.

Barsky makes an immediate profit on the shares he has already bought. These were issued at 0.8 pence each, while the stock closed at 1.14 pence on Tuesday.

Matra said this reflected the fact the deal was negotiated before the recent run up in the company's share price.

Barsky will be invited to join the board of Matra as a non-executive director.

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