Analysts think YUKOS shareholders may lose control of company

The merger of YUKOS and Sibneft will take place only in the event the control of the united company is transferred to Sibneft representatives, analysts believe. In their view, YUKOS shareholders have little choice in this connection, as they have received an offer that they cannot reject, the experts pointed out.

In the opinion of the analysts, if the major shareholders in the company reject Sibneft's proposals, the government will finally deprive Mikhail Khodorkovsky of any influence on YUKOS. Obviously, the government is not interested in ruining this company, but it has no plans to retreat either, the experts underlined. At the same time there are some chances that YUKOS shareholders would "fight until the end," and in such an event, two scenarios are possible. The first scenario envisages technical bankruptcy of the company, which will "owe" the government $5bn in unpaid taxes. Experts consider this scenario unlikely, as it would have very negative consequences on the economy. The second option is that the block of shares that belong to the major shareholders would be transferred to the government, and then it will be sold to a private company, for example, at an auction. The share prices would fall sharply when the shares are seized, but in the long term, these shares would remain attractive," the analysts reckon.

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