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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prokhorov Raises Stake in Polyus

Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is believed to have increased his stake in Polyus Gold to a blocking share, raising the odds in his dispute with business partner Vladimir Potanin.

Prokhorov bought about 3 percent of the gold miner over July and August for $240 million, bringing his stake to over 25 percent, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing sources close to Polyus.

The news comes just two days after it emerged that Prokhorov had accumulated a blocking stake in Norilsk Nickel.

Prokhorov and Potanin, who until recently held equal 22 percent stakes in Polyus and Norilsk Nickel, are in the process of splitting their assets.

Analysts said Prokhorov would be able to attract a much higher premium when selling his stakes, while ensuring that his interests are observed at Norilsk in the interim.

"Twenty-two percent is a good number, but it doesn't mean anything," said Semyon Mironov, a metals analyst at Credit Suisse. "[A 25 percent stake] gives not only the shares, but also control."

Prokhorov and Potanin are widely believed to be still trying to agree on a price for Prokhorov's assets. Analysts now believe it is unlikely that Prokhorov will sell his stakes in Polyus and Norilsk to Potanin and will instead seek a strategic investor.

Prokhorov has called a meeting of Norilsk shareholders next month to elect a new board.