BP's partners may sell out of joint TNK-BP venture -FT

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - BP's billionaire partners in TNK-BP , Russia's third-biggest oil producer, said they could sell or list their 50 percent stake in the business, plunging the venture's plans into further confusion, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The British oil giant has also put its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP, estimated to be worth $25 billion, on the block and is currently negotiating both with its partners, grouped together in a consortium known as AAR, and with state-controlled Rosneft .

AAR, with which BP has had a long history of disputes, is planning to table a cash offer by an Oct. 17 deadline.

But AAR notified BP on Monday that they could sell their own shares to a third party or dispose of them through an initial public offering. The FT quoted a BP spokesman as saying the company would continue the process of selling its stake, regardless of the AAR move.

The newspaper cited a person close to AAR as saying that by announcing their intention to sell, the oligarchs wanted to have as many options as possible if Rosneft acquires BP's stake.

"From our perspective we become a financial investor in this

without any liquidity," the FT cited the person as saying.

The person also said it was important to prepare TNK-BP for a listing while BP is still a shareholder, according to the FT.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

((stephen.mangan@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 0 20 7542 7931))

Keywords: BP TNKBP/