Exxon Mobil Corp.has again signalled interest in Russian oil company Yukos should Yukos' talks to take over rival Sibneft fail, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The newspaper, citing people familiar with the situation, said no formal talks with Exxon are under way and any deal for Yukos would face major hurdles, as most of the company's main shareholders are either in jail or exile amid a series of tax and fraud investigations.
Russian prosecutors have also frozen the 40-percent stake of Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was arrested on October 25 on tax evasion charges. Exxon had been in talks about buying a stake in Yukos when he was arrested.
A partial $11 billion merger of Yukos and Sibneft has already taken place, but shareholders from the Sibneft camp, led by Roman Abramovich, went cold on the deal and suspended it on Nov. 28.