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Ex-Thai PM in talks to buy Bakrie's stake in Bumi Plc: report

Exterior view of the office building that houses Bumi Plc in London September 25, 2012. Picture taken September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Exterior view of the office building that houses Bumi Plc in London September 25, 2012. Picture taken September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is in talks to buy the Bakrie family's 23.8 percent stake in Indonesia-focused coal miner Bumi Plc , a report on Sunday said.

The price Thaksin, who was ousted by the army in 2006, would be willing to pay is unclear, the Sunday Times reported, adding that he had hired UBS.

Bumi was co-founded by financier Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family but has struggled in the past two years to overcome bitter boardroom battles, a probe into financial irregularities and the tumbling price of coal.

Bumi and the Bakrie family are now seeking to part ways and last year the Bakries agreed to exchange $278 million in cash and their shares in London-listed Bumi for the group's minority holding in Bumi Resources , but the length of negotiations has raised questions over the family's ability to come up with the cash.

The Sunday Times said Thaksin's arrival would raise fears that Bumi's deal with the Bakries was now dead and that investors would worry that any deal with Thaksin could be on less attractive terms.

Bumi and Thaksin declined to comment on the story. A spokesman for the Bakries also declined to comment.

Bumi's chief executive Nick Von Schirnding said in June that Bumi had received guarantees that the outstanding $228 million the company is owed by the Bakries to finalize the deal was available.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; additional reporting by Andjarsari Paramaditha in Jakarta; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Alison Williams)

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