BP, TNK billionaires said to be near deal to drop mutual claims

BP Plc (BP/) and its billionaire partners in Russia’s third-biggest oil company are nearing an agreement to drop all claims against each other as they seek to sell their stakes in the venture to state-run OAO Rosneft (ROSN), two people with knowledge of the plan said.

Under the plan, AAR, which represents billionaires Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg, German Khan and Len Blavatnik, agreed to halt arbitration over whether BP violated terms of the TNK-BP shareholder agreement in an aborted 2011 alliace with Rosneft, the people said, declining to be identified before an announcement. The U.K. explorer also agreed to halt any disputes, they said.

BP and AAR officials declined to comment.

Rosneft said last month it plans to pay BP $17.1 billion in cash and 12.8 percent of its stock for half of TNK-BP, and agreed to buy AAR’s half of the oil venture for $28 billion in cash. The $55 billion deal would turn Rosneft into the world’s largest publicly traded oil company by volume.