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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dart, Yukos Resolve Long Running Feud




International investor Kenneth Dart has finally made peace with Russian oil major Yukos, ending one of Russia's longest and most bitter corporate battles, Dart's representatives announced Monday.


A group of investors under the Dart Group umbrella has sold its stakes in three Yukos producers to a Cyprus-based firm, according to a statement released by the investment vehicle.


As a result, the Dart Group has ceased its many legal actions against Yukos, the statement reads.


Yukos officials declined to comment Monday, pledging to release a statement Tuesday.


While details of the deal were not disclosed, the Financial Times reported Monday that it was believed the stakes had been sold for about $120 million. That's more than Yukos' market capitalization was worth at the start of last week, though the Financial Times said rumors of the deal have since helped to raise the firm's market worth, which stood at $264.71 million as of Monday's close.


The Russian stock market has soared recently on expectations of a pro-government result in the State Duma elections held Sunday.


Dart had controlled stakes of between 20 percent and 25 percent in Yukos subsidiaries Samaraneftegaz and Yuganskneftegaz and a similar amount in Tomskneft.


"The purchasers of these shares were Sowerby Enterprises Limited and Benodet Investments Limited, both located in Cyprus," read the statement.


Dart had led a campaign by minority investors - waged in the courts and through the press - that protested against alleged violations of shareholders rights by Yukos company management and majority shareholders.


The oil major fought back on both fronts, claiming that Dart was a vulture investor wantonly obstructing Yukos' plan to streamline an unwieldy corporate structure.


Yukos' plans - which involved a series of share emissions and non-market equity sales to Cyprus-based firms - were pushed through at separate, highly controversial shareholders meetings for each subsidiary. On each occasion, Yukos moved to exclude Dart and other shareholders from the meetings, using various grounds.


Billionaire Styrofoam-cup king Dart and his allies fought hard against proposed share emissions in the Yukos subsidiaries, which could have diluted their stakes to a mere third of their previous weight and thereby effectively cut them out of any say in the companies concerned.


Investment vehicles for both Dart and Yukos filed suit and counter-suit against one another in courts across the land.


Primarily at Dart's instigation, the Federal Securities Commission launched an investigation into Yukos' management of its shares and those of its subsidiaries.


Yukos and its subsidiaries shares were suspended from trading on the Russian Trading System and the oil firm has moved to transfer its equity listing to the Moscow Stock Exchange.


The end of the war with Dart means that Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky can finally consolidate the oil holding shares.


It comes as no surprise that analysts Monday saw peace with Dart as good news for Yukos, and the market in general. Yukos's shares closed Monday at 11.8 cents, more than double the 5.8 cents a share the stock closed at last Tuesday.


- Staff writer Igor Semenenko contributed to this report.