RusAl, Norilsk Discuss Full Merger

United Company RusAl, which is buying a strategic stake in metals major Norilsk Nickel, is discussing a full buyout or a merger, one of RusAl's shareholders said Tuesday.

Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg told Vedomosti that RusAl was in talks with Vladimir Potanin, who owns over 25 percent in Norilsk, after having already agreed with Mikhail Prokhorov to buy his 29 percent stake in Norilsk in exchange for 11 percent in RusAl and an undisclosed cash sum.

"I met Volodya [Potanin] before the new year. Volodya in general believes that such a merger would make sense, but there are many details we need to discuss and understand to see how such a big deal can be structured," Vekselberg said.

"Sooner or later we will reach agreement with Potanin," he said.

Potanin's press service was not immediately available for comment.