Now that the Russian government has secured a majority stake in Gazprom it has fully opened up the company to foreign investors.
While in a strictly legal sense, this means that a foreign company could buy all of Russia’s energy giant, the Russian government now owns more than 50% of the company, and is extremely extremely unlikely to ever sell.
But it does mean that the remaining 49% or so is up for grabs, which will hopefully provide a welcome boost to the financing of Gazprom while allowing Western investors to rake in some substantial profits.
I’m not entirely sure the Russian government will look back on this decision happily, however. Increased Western investment is going to also mean increased pressure on Gazprom to run its affairs transparently and, while the Russian government as majority stakeholder can technically ignore such requests, to do so is sure to dent Gazprom’s value and standing among investors. I wonder if opening up Gazprom to foreign investment in this half-hearted manner will actually drive the value of Gazprom down, rather than up, in the long run?