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Billionaire Prokhorov Bids for 100% Stake in Russian Daily Vedomosti

Published: July 12, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has attempted to buy Vedomosti newspaper on a number of occasions.
    Photo: Sergei Porter / Vedomosti

Onexim Group, owned by billionaire and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, has bid to purchase 100 percent of shares in the influential Russian business daily Vedomosti, Russian media reported, citing sources close to the tender.

Vedomosti — which is published in tandem with the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal — is one of a handful of Russian newspaper and magazine assets owned by Sanoma Independent Media, or SIM, a subsidiary of struggling Finnish media group Sanoma, which is unloading its Russian operations in an effort to firm up its bottom line.

Citibank, which was hired to manage the sale of SIM, is expected on Friday to close the call for bids on Vedomosti and other assets included in the company's portfolio, the report said.

SIM also publishes The St. Petersburg Times and a series of glossy magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and National Geographic through a cluster of Russian publishing houses.

Onexim has sent an official letter to Citibank offering to buy a 100 percent stake in Vedomosti, ITAR-Tass reported Thursday, citing a source who had seen the document and confirmation from a media executive familiar with the negotiations.

Prokhorov, whose wealth is estimated by Forbes at $11 billion, has already made multiple attempts to buy Vedomosti, several of his acquaintances told the paper. The sources also told Vedomosti that Derk Sauer, the Dutch founder of The Moscow Times and SIM, has been nudging him in this direction.

Sauer himself — who two years ago left SIM to head Russian media group RBC, in which Prokhorov holds a controlling stake — expressed interest in buying Vedomosti in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times in November last year.

"Vedomosti is a good business, it has good prospects and it is important for the market and for the media," Sauer said at the time.

While Onexim is primarily interested in Vedomosti, other SIM assets could also potentially be part of the sale, ITAR-Tass reported.

SIM owns only a 33 percent share in Vedomosti, so if Prokhorov wants operational control of the newspaper he would also need to purchase two equal stakes owned by Dow Jones and the FT Group, owners of The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, respectively.

SIM had been negotiating with Dow Jones and FT Group to sell its stake in Vedomosti, but talks were delayed earlier this year due to the crisis in Ukraine, ITAR-Tass reported.

Representatives of Onexim, Citibank, Sanoma and SIM declined Vedomosti's requests for comment.





 


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Wednesday, Nov. 26


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Thursday, Nov. 27


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Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


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Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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