Why Mikhail Prokhorov is now an American businessman

After the sale of assets, most of the projects of the businessman are in the United States.
This summer, Mikhail Prokhorov unexpectedly appeared on the CBS television channel in the show The Late Show of the famous American showman Stephen Colbert. "In 1995, a friend of [the current president of Russia, Vladimir] Putin, Mikhail Prokhorov came across a gold mine, or rather, nickel. He was allowed to buy out Norilsk Nickel for a nickel coin. After the scandal in Courchevel, Putin forced him to sell a stake in Norilsk Nickel. For the lucky Mishka, it all ended $ 9 billion "- so Colbert too loosely described the entire history of Prokhorov's business. The rest of the story was reduced to an excursion to the businessman's mansion and mutual jokes of the interlocutors.

Usually, the restrained Prokhorov in an unusual role for prim Russian businessmen appeared not accidentally, I'm sure his acquaintance. He believes that this is part of the campaign to build a new image of a businessman in the United States. The representatives of Prokhorov and Colbert did not comment on the participation of the businessman in the satirical show.

Prokhorov has long had no major new projects in Russia, but actively developing sports and development business in the US, recalls his friend. The suggestion of Vedomosti's interlocutor seems convincing, if we recall that from 2015 Prokhorov only sells Russian assets. The main sale was launched in the summer of 2016. As a result, according to Bloomberg, Prokhorov's basketball team and development projects in the US are worth at least $ 2.2 billion, while Russian assets are $ 1.8 billion.

How to lose $ 3 billion

Six years ago, Prokhorov took the third place in the list of Russian Forbes with an estimated state of $ 18 billion. His portfolio then had 17.02% of UC Rusal, 37.78% of Russia's largest producer of gold Polyus Gold International Limited, as well as the energy company Quadra, development OPIN, insurance Consent, banks Renaissance Credit, Renaissance Capital and IFC, media holdings of RBC and Zhivi, as well as a project to organize the production of a hybrid E-mobile.

At the same time, Prokhorov went into politics, first leading the Right Cause party, and in 2012 he became Putin's sparring partner in the presidential election. For the businessman, 5.7 million Russians (7.98%) voted.

After the election, Prokhorov also made the last major investment in Russia - in late 2013, along with Dmitry Mazepin on a VTB loan, he bought out 47% of Uralkali shares from Suleiman Kerimov's structures. Prokhorov himself got 27%. Sources Vedomosti told then that the whole "Uralkali" for the transaction was valued at $ 20 billion, and the purchased package cost $ 5.4 billion. But the deal turned out to be one of the most unsuccessful investments of a businessman, on which he could lose up to $ 2.8 billion .

In 2014, one of the company's mines was damaged by the flood. "Uralkali" at all times paid significant dividends to shareholders. After all, the company's EBITDA margin was not lowered even in the crisis below 50%. But after the flood, management announced the need for a sharp increase in the investment program due to the reduction of dividends.

The cost of the company began to fall. In 2015, Onexim sold Uralkali during the repurchase of a 7% stake, losing about $ 700 million on it - the difference between the purchase price in 2013 and the price of the announced buyout. The remaining 20% of Uralkali were sold in July 2016 to Mazepin's classmate Dmitry Lobyak. A man close to Onexim told Vedomosti then that for the deal, Uralkali was valued at $ 9.7 billion. In other words, Prokhorov could receive up to $ 1.9 billion for 20% of Uralkali, losing $ 2 on the deal, 1 billion

The losses include the closed-in E-mobile project in 2014, investments in which were estimated at $ 200 million, the media holding Zhivi!, Which was invested in the creation of $ 80 million (Meduza publications). Since March 2017 in the state of bankruptcy is JSC "PyhK" (formerly Optogan) - a St. Petersburg LED manufacturer, a joint venture of Onexima and Rusnano.

"Prokhorov is depressed, he decided to move away from business," says a businessman from Forbes' "gold list". "There is no depression in Prokhorov, he is actually an unemotional person", - his close acquaintance argues. Prokhorov became uninterested in operating business from about 2011, he continues. So the billionaire decided to take up politics. After the failure, Prokhorov is in search, hence the impression of his "depression", says his acquaintance.

Cash lover

"As they say in certain circles, he [Prokhorov] was okeshilsya, he has money. He goes to different offices, he came to me recently, we have good relations with him, looking for a different use for these facilities. A commitment, it must be done, "- chided in February 2010, the beneficiary of the" Quadra "Prokhorov, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a meeting on the development of electricity. According to Forbes, in 2009, Prokhorov actually had a record $ 6.1 billion in cash, which allowed him to become the leader in the rating of Russian billionaires (the overall condition is $ 9.5 billion).

After seven years, history repeats itself. Prokhorov again sells assets and could raise about $ 5.7 billion for them. But there is no trusting relationship with Putin, his friend is sure. "And seven years ago he was not perceived as his own, always expecting some kind of dirty trick. Articles and investigations in RBC only fueled these suspicions, "- says the interlocutor of" Vedomosti ". One of the most high-profile investigations of RBC was connected with Putin's family and the business of his good acquaintances, which could not but affect the attitude of the first persons to Prokhorov and not put his business in jeopardy.

The battle for Lenenergo

The business of Prokhorov could be affected by hidden conflicts, to which the chief executive director of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, could participate.

In early 2015, the bank controlled by Prokhorov, Viktor Vekselberg and the family of the general director of Rostek, Sergei Chemezov, the IFC bank volunteered to set up a small bank, Tavrichesky (St. Petersburg). The bank had no special assets, it differed only in that it contained all the free funds of Lenenergo - 16.4 billion rubles. The largest shareholder of Lenenergo is the state-owned Rosset company, whose general director Oleg Budargin is familiar with Prokhorov for at least 20 years.

In 1995, Oneximbank Prokhorov and his former partner Vladimir Potanin bought 51% of RAO Norilsk Nickel. Growing up in Norilsk, Budargin by that time rose to the deputy general director of the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine, the company's main asset. In 1996-2001, The general director of "Norilsk Nickel" was the current vice-premier Alexander Khloponin - a classmate and an old friend of Prokhorov. After Prokhorov himself became head of Norilsk Nickel in 2001, Budargin and Khloponin went into politics, becoming governors of the Taimyrsky District and the Krasnoyarsk Territory, respectively.

Unexpected investor

In December 2016, AvtoVAZ conducted an additional issue of 26 billion rubles. This was the first part of the so-called capitalization program of the company. In two stages, the main shareholders of the automaker, Renault and Rostek, were to give him money and write off debts.

The first part of the additional issue was intended for Renault. The French company was ready to spend on the deal up to 25 billion rubles. But unexpectedly she was helped by Prokhorov's Renaissance Capital. The structure of the investment bank - Renaissance Securities bought during the additional issue of 24.09% stake in AvtoVAZ. Control remained with the joint venture Renault, Nissan and Rosteha - Alliance Rostec Auto.

Money for the purchase of the Renaissance Capital structure could be provided by Renault through a joint venture, the company's annual report for 2016 says. The report mentions a loan of 11.5 billion rubles, which in December 2016 was issued to Alliance Rostec Auto. A certain "financial instrument" worth 180 million euros, secured by a stake in Avtovaz, was acquired on this loan. And the share of 24.09% of the shares, and the size of the loan is almost the same as the package purchased by Renaissance Securities. Renault Communications Director for the Eurasia Region Charlotte Favre and the representative of Rostecha could not explain this coincidence. According to them, Renaissance Securities participated in the subscription on a general basis and is an independent investor. "It seems to me that" Renkap "is not acting as an independent investor, but as a third party for the successful forced repurchase of shares from minority shareholders," says Aton analyst Mikhail Ganelin. If you consider it an independent investment, then it is possible that the company will be able to earn. It all depends on how fast the demand for cars will recover, Ganelin believes.

Interest in the debts of Lenenergo unexpectedly showed Sechin, who had nothing to do with either this company or Rossetyam. As Kommersant reported and confirmed by presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Sechin and the management of Inter RAO UES, Boris Kovalchuk, suggested that Putin save Lenenergo at the expense of Rosneftegaz money. The scheme of rescue looked like this: "Rosneftegaz" for 30 billion rubles. Buys out 36.76% of additional shares in Moscow's MOESK. At the same time, the share of "Rossetey" in MOESK is being eroded. MOESK for received from Rosneftegaz 30 billion rubles. Acquires additional shares of Lenenergo and instead of Rossetei became its largest shareholder with a 52% stake. With this development of events, Rosseti lost control of its two largest assets in Moscow and St. Petersburg. "The pressure on Rosseti by Sechin was very strong," recalls a source close to the state-owned company.

Budargin, Prokhorov and the governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko (Putin's co-worker in the KGB) managed to defend the assets. To do this, it was necessary to reach Putin, who at the meeting in June 2015 approved their plan to attract 32 billion rubles. Due to the issue of OFZ.

Sechin could harbor an insult to Prokhorov and Budargin because of the situation with Lenenergo, recognizes the businessman's acquaintance with a reservation that he does not know the details of this story.

In a similar situation, the former general director of the state company RusHydro, Yevgeny Dod, turned out to be also.

Worked for eight years at Inter RAO and six years at RusHydro, Dod was considered a man of Sechin. It was Sechin, who headed the board of directors of Inter RAO in 2009, recommended Doda to the post of RusHydro head, several people close to Inter RAO told Vedomosti.

Relations between them cooled in 2012, when Dod supported the government and opposed the proposal of Sechin to issue an additional issue of RusHydro for 50 billion rubles. In favor of Rosneftegaz. As a result, Sechin's plan did not pass.

The answer did not take long. In early 2013, at a commission on the fuel and energy complex in Novo-Ogaryovo, Putin arranged a dodo for Doda because of thefts during the construction of the Zagorskaya PSPP-2. "So, you lost a billion, a billion, thus went to the front offices <...> You do not consider it necessary to protect the interests of the company? "- Putin was heated.

Then everything worked out for Dod. In September 2015, he quietly resigned from RusHydro and went to work in Prokhorov's Quadra.

Black April 2016

In March 2016, Dod headed the board of directors of the Quadra, and a month later the attack began both on the energy company and the entire Prokhorov business.

April 11, 2016 on the TV channel REN TV (one of the largest beneficiaries - co-owner of the bank "Russia" Yuri Kovalchuk ") showed a story about Prokhorov. "The offshore company of the oligarch Prokhorov raises prices for utilities. Experts fear that the companies registered in the offshore companies "will pull the entire energy system" of several regions "in pieces" - so the news is titled on the website of the TV channel. In the TV the story was told about the complaints of the residents of Lipetsk, Voronezh and Kursk to Prokhorov's controlled Quadra, and the experts interviewed by REN TV expressed concern that the money received by Quadra could disappear on Prokhorov's offshore accounts.

Three days after the television show, prokhorov's companies were searched. Formally, they were connected with criminal cases against the former management of the Tavrichesky Bank, but sources close to RBC and Prokhorov were sure: it was the case with the media holding about the Putin family and his entourage.

The April attack ended with the actual defeat of RBC, out of which all key employees were forced to quit or left themselves. And the suit of Rosneft for a record 3 billion rubles. Because of the article published on April 11, 2015, "Sechin asked the government to protect Rosneft from BP." As a result, the parties agreed on a global one - RBC recognized part of the information in the article as untrue, and Rosneft withdrew the claim.

The representative of Rosneft did not answer Vedomosti's questions.

Doda was less fortunate. In June 2016, two weeks after Reuters called the businessman a potential buyer of the Quadra, the former head of RusHydro, Dod, was detained on charges of illegally obtaining a premium of 73 million rubles. On the same day, searches were held in the Quadra, RIA Novosti reported.

Since 2011, "Quadra" has repeatedly tried to buy Inter RAO, but the FAS did not give consent to the deal. According to the representative of "Inter RAO" Anton Nazarov, now the company does not see the possibility of acquiring the Quadra. "This asset does not suit us by several parameters, and not just by price. The management of the Quadra and Prokhorov are aware of this, "Nazarov said.

Calling a Friend

By the summer of 2016, information appeared that Prokhorov had begun selling virtually all of his Russian business. Sources close to Onexim and the partners of the group talked about the banks for sale, OPIN, Quadra, shareholdings in UC Rusal and Uralkali. The reason for the sale was explained by the Kremlin's "urgent recommendation," but no one could provide proof of this. Whatever it was, Prokhorov managed to sell the largest asset in Russia - a stake in Uralkali, OPIN and nearly sold for $ 700 million his stake in UC Rusal. By the end of the year the situation calmed down, several friends of Onexim's top managers told us.

Spas Prokhorov last year, the head of Rostekh Chemezov, knows the source of the Vedomosti, close to the presidential administration. Prokhorov and Chemezov have long been friends, they have a joint business (the IFC bank), Chemezov's motives explain the source.

Previously, Chemezov himself admitted in an interview with Bloomberg that he had a longstanding relationship with Prokhorov. In 2014, at the suggestion of Onexim, Chemezov became chairman of the board of directors of Uralkali.

According to the familiar top managers of Onexim, the authorities' confidence in Prokhorov could also be helped by his participation in the additional issue of AvtoVAZ. About it, he could ask Chemezov, the interlocutor of Vedomosti said.

But this year the sale continued. In two installments, 10.3% of UC Rusal was sold for $ 744 million. The buyer was also found on RBC - he was acquired by Grigory Berezkin.

Business in pleasure

The only asset that Potanin did not give to Prokhorov at the section, as he asked, is the basketball club CSKA (owned by Norilsk Nickel). For 10 years with the support of Prokhorov CSKA turned into one of the strongest basketball clubs in Europe. Much later, Potanin admitted to Sport Express that the club was always the idea of Prokhorov: "I can not call CSKA my personal project, causing me great enthusiasm."

Instead of losing CSKA, Prokhorov, after a divorce from Potanin in late 2009, bought 80% of the American developer Bruce Ratner from the American basketball team Brooklyn Nets from New York (formerly New Jersey Nets) and 45% in the Barclays Center arena under construction. This is for Europe the purchase of football clubs by Arab sheikhs or billionaires from other countries has not been news for a long time. And for the US, the Prokhorov deal was a revelation. Until now, only the Americans owned the NBA clubs.

"Prokhorov in 2010 really caught fire with a basketball project," recalls his acquaintance. - It was not just about the club. The club itself was actually bought for $ 1, the rest of the money was a fee for entering the development project of Ratner. " It is about the project Atlantic Yards (later renamed Pacific Park Brooklyn), which provides for the construction in the center of New York not only the huge arena of the Barclays Center, but also 16 high-rise residential and administrative buildings. The total cost of the project is estimated at $ 4.9 billion. Prokhorov had an option of 20% in the entire project, according to Ratner Forest City Realty.

In 2013, 70% of the Pacific Park Brooklyn project (with the exception of the arena and one already constructed building) was purchased by the Chinese Greenland Holdings Group for $ 208 million. According to the acquaintance of Prokhorov, the third partner appeared by agreement between Prokhorov and Ratner.

In addition to the arena of Barclays Center, Prokhorov managed to become an investor in three more sports and entertainment facilities. In 2015, he acquired from Ratner 85% in the project for the reconstruction of the arena NYCB LIVE's on Long Island. This arena became home for the "younger" basketball team - Long Island Nets, serving in the NBA G League.

In the spring of this year, Prokhorov's assets replenished with two new sites: one of the most famous former nightclubs in Manhattan - Webster Hall and Paramount Theater in Brooklyn. After the renovation, the cost of which is estimated at $ 50 million, Paramount Theater will hold concerts, boxing fights and other entertainment events, said Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, controlled by Prokhorov.

By the summer of 2017, Prokhorov turned out to be one of the biggest players on the American sports and entertainment market. According to the industry publication Pollstar, in the first half of 2017 Barclays Center took 9th place in the world rating of arenas by the number of tickets sold for concerts. Opening on April 5, 2017 arena NYCB LIVE's for three months managed to enter the top hundred in the world. And the club Webster Hall has always been a top-5 of the world's best ticket sales clubs, notes Pollstar.
However, judging by the financial indicators, not everything is so rosy. The Brooklyn Arena LLC revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016 was only $ 176 million, a loss of $ 30.9 million. However, most of the losses are "paper", in fact the arena earned $ 3 million. The Brooklyn Nets basketball club was the first Operating profit of $ 15.7 million was received only in 2016, wrote Forbes. Before that, the club's losses reached $ 90 million per year.

Prokhorov failed and quickly brought Brooklyn Nets to the leaders of the NBA, the last two seasons the club turned out to be the worst in the Eastern Conference.

Nevertheless, Prokhorov is delighted with how the American project is developing, says his acquaintance. Having invested not so much money, he already received assets "for billions of dollars."

Rumors about Prokhorov's poverty are exaggerated

How much Prokhorov could spend on building the arena and supporting his basketball team is not known. The large expenses were mentioned only in 2014, when due to the excess of the salary level of the players, Brooklyn Nets had to pay NBA an additional $ 90 million tax on luxury. According to Vedomosti estimates, based on Brooklyn Arena LLC reports and company reports, for 100% of Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Prokhorov could pay $ 510.7 million (of which $ 217.7 million were promissory notes). Reconstruction of NYCB LIVE's cost Prokhorov and Ratner for another $ 165 million.

For Prokhorov, this amount could be very serious. Previously, cash flow to him provided "Norilsk Nickel" or "Uralkali." With their sale, the businessman lost and a source of funds for investment in other projects. The acquaintance of Prokhorov just connects the sale of assets with a shortage of available funds and the need to service current loans. The same "Quadra" is now mortgaged to Sberbank and Gazprombank, since spring of 2017 Alfa Bank has secured a bank "Renaissance Credit" as a mortgage.

Representatives of VTB and Sberbank declined to comment. A source close to Gazprombank assures that "the rumors about Prokhorov's poverty are greatly exaggerated". To say that Prokhorov has problems with money, one of the businessmen who work with him agrees. It just does not have new big projects in Russia, and they do not have many at all now, Vedomosti continues. But Prokhorov is very keen on his project in the US - both the developer and the sports part. He is developing it in a clever way, he is well versed and, most importantly, he likes it, concludes the businessman.