"The conflict between AAR and BP is about control of TNK-BP. We want the company to be managed as an independent oil company in the interest of all shareholders, including the 5% minority shareholders. BP wants to operate our joint venture like a BP subsidiary and it wants to control all aspects of its business. If the company is to compete against the best and to have a successful future as a leading international oil business, this state of affairs must change."
BP claims that the Russians want to force BP out so they can cash in. BP's chair, Peter Sutherland, (quoted here in the New York Times) blames the Russian oligarchs for engaging in corporate raiding, and wonders why the Russian government does not stop it:
“This is just a return to the corporate raiding activities that were prevalent in Russia in the 1990s,” Mr. Sutherland said at a conference in Stockholm. “The leaders of the country seem unwilling or unable to step in and stop them. This is bad for us, bad for the company and, of course, very bad for Russia.”Many argue that AAR is just acting on behalf of the Kremlin, though BP strictly avoids making this claim.
How should we think about this conflict? In the next post, I offer an explanation based on the work I have been doing with Clifford Gaddy.