Thaksin in race to buy Bakrie’s Bumi holdings

Michael Bow
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FORMER Manchester City chairman Thaksin Shinawatra is moving to buy out the Bakrie family’s stake in Indonesian coalminer Bumi, opening the door to a fresh showdown over the future direction of the company.

Shinawatra has appointed investment bank UBS to flesh out the plan and could buy the influential Indonesian family’s 23.8 per cent following this year’s messy divorce between the outfit’s main protagonists.

The miner, which was set up by 2011 by Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family, voted for a deal to separate the venture after it was soured by tumbling coal prices and boardroom disagreements.

Bumi shares were suspended in April, as it awaits the results of a probe into financial irregularities. The price for the stake in any sale has not yet been disclosed.

The Bakries had announced plans to cancel their shares in Bumi and then pay £186m to buy themselves out of the company. However, proposals are now thought to be afoot to sell their stake to the market for cash, after the offer and share cancellation idea looked destined to run out of steam.

Thaksin, former prime minister of Thailand, is best known in the UK as the ex-chairman of football club Manchester City, which is owned between 2007-08. He could not be reached for comment. Bumi declined to comment.