OAO RBC, the media holding company of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, isn’t in talks to acquire Sanoma Oyj (SAA1V)’s stake in newspaper Vedomosti, Derk Sauer, president of RBC, said.
Russian business daily Kommersant reported today that RBC is seeking to buy a 33 percent stake in a Cyprus-based company which owns Vedomosti, a business daily which is published jointly with the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, citing unidentified people.
“We at RBC are not involved in any talks on the matter, there is no substance for these press reports,” said Sauer, the founder of Sanoma Independent Media, who was hired last month by Prokhorov to run RBC.
Russian media assets have been consolidated by businessmen with ties to President Vladimir Putin in recent years. Billionaire Yuri Kovalchuk’s National Media Group, part-owned by RTL Group SA (RTL), runs three television channels and broadsheet Izvestia. Billionaire Alisher Usmanov controls Kommersant. OAO Gazprom runs two TV stations.
Alternatively, Pearson Plc (PSON), which publishes the FT, may consolidate 100 percent of Vedomosti, Kommersant reported. Sanoma, Pearson and News Corp. (NWSA:US), which runs the Wall Street Journal, currently each own a third of Vedomosti.
“Pearson has long been an active investor in Vedomosti and we will continue to do so,” spokesman Charles Goldsmith said today in a phone interview.
Robin Janszen, a spokesman for Sanoma in Helsinki, declined to comment on the Kommersant report.
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