Abramovich selling out?

Good news for Chelsea fans. Just in case they thought Roman Abramovich may be feeling the pinch after splashing out on summer signings which left him with a mere $12.5 billion, the speculation that he is about to sell his stake in Sibneft is looking all the more accurate:

The shareholders of Russian oil producer Sibneft approved a massive $2.3 billion dividend today, paving the way for an expected sale of the company by core owners led by Roman Abramovich.

Analysts say the size of the dividend – bigger than last year’s profit – is a sure sign Abramovich, who owns English soccer club Chelsea, is draining cash from the company before selling his controlling stake to gas giant Gazprom.

Abramovich has never revealed how much of Sibneft he controls, but his Millhouse Capital investment vehicle has 72% of the shares, prompting speculation that he could walk away from a sale with up to $8 billion in cash.

No doubt he will be permitted to waltz into London with the cash in a suitcase and the following press-pack wetting themselves over which yacht he will buy next.

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