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Russian Billionaire Fridman Eyes Buying Eon's North Sea Assets

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman has emerged as the front-runner to acquire German utility E.ON's Norwegian North Sea assets, industry sources said on October 6.

The potential billion-dollar acquisition would signal a renewed push by the Russian oligarch to expand his LetterOne private equity fund's oil and gas portfolio after being forced to sell his British North Sea assets under the pressure of U.S. and European sanctions on Moscow.

E.ON is hoping to fetch up to $2 billion from the sale of all its oil and gas assets in Norway, the British North Sea, and Algeria as part of a broad restructuring.

LetterOne is now in advanced talks with E.ON to buy the Norwegian assets, the sources said.

An announcement on the deal could come in the coming days, though final details still need to be hammered out.

In April, the British Energy Ministry gave Fridman six months to dispose of LetterOne's North Sea assets, acquired from German utility RWE, or see the their licenses revoked as the West tightened sanctions against Moscow over its aggression in Ukraine.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Financial Times