MOSCOW (Reuters) - Veteran emerging markets investor Mark Mobius said on Thursday he had sold his fund’s stake in Russia’s TNK-BP Holding, walking away from his attempt to get a better buyout deal from the firm’s new owner, Rosneft (ROSN.MM).
Yet Mobius, manager of Templeton’s Emerging Markets Fund, is not pulling out of Russia entirely after a bruising exchange between minority shareholders and Igor Sechin, the boss of the state-controlled Russian oil major.
“We will continue to invest in Russia but with care ... like porcupines making love,” Mobius said an emailed reply to questions from Reuters.
The Franklin Templeton emerging markets group has more than $1 billion invested in Russian equities.
Rosneft bought TNK-BP for $55 billion in March, but did not offer equal terms to minority investors who own about 5 percent of TNK-BP’s listed unit, now called RN Holding RNHS.MM, raising concerns over Russia’s corporate governance standards.
“Of course corporate governance concerns remain not only in Russia but other parts of the world,” Mobius said. “In Russia there are good companies in this regard and others not so good.”
Mobius had sought a better deal than the offer eventually made by Rosneft, estimated by analysts to value TNK-BP at a discount of nearly half to the price it paid to BP (BP.L) and quartet of Soviet-born tycoons in Russia’s largest takeover.
Sechin initially refused to make an offer, saying that Rosneft “was not a charity”, but eventually proposed buying out the remaining shares for about $1.5 billion in late September.
The deal worked out at around $2.07 per ordinary share and $1.71 for preferred shares.
The offer disappointed some investors who hoped to get closer to the $3.70 a share analysts calculated Rosneft had paid for TNK-BP. Shares in RN Holding were little changed on Thursday at 65.09 roubles ($1.98).
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Douglas Busvine; Editing by Elizabeth Piper