UPDATE 1-Northgas stake seller sees $1.5 bln Inter RAO bid

Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:40pm GMT

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* Akhmedov's Redi selling 49 percent of Northgas

* Says Inter RAO offered $1.5 billion cash

* Gazprom can lay claim to stake for 60 days

(Adds quotes, detail)

MOSCOW, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Farhad Akhmedov told Reuters on Monday he expected state-controlled power trader Inter RAO IUES.MM to pay $1.5 billion cash for his 49 percent stake in Russian gas producer Northgas.

A Russian press report last week said Inter RAO had offered the amount in cash and shares for Akhmedov's British holding company Redi which controls the minority stake. [ID:nLDE6BC0FK].

"Maybe ... when the deal is complete, I will think about purchasing shares from one or another issuer. In this case, I think Inter RAO may become one of the world's leading power companies," Akhmedov said in a telephone interview.

"The deal will create synergies for Northgas and the buyer."

Akhmedov said Inter RAO has made a simliar offer to Gazprom (GAZP.MM). The state-owned oil and gas giant owns 51 percent of Northgas and has a pre-emptive right to purchase the rest.

Gazprom has 60 days from Jan. 12 to make a decision, according to an agreement signed in 2005, he said.

Akhmedov, whose wealth was valued at $750 million by Forbes in spring 2010, joined Northgas in the 1990s, but transferred a 51 percent stake to Gazprom in 2005.

Akhmedov added he has previously declined numerous offers for his Northgas stake and that he is willing to sell now because Inter RAO, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, has made an attractive offer.

(Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh and David Hulmes)

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