28 Aug 2009 14:27

Usmanov unities media assets with Media-One Group

MOSCOW. Aug 28 (Interfax) - AF Media Holding, which manages the media assets of Alisher Usmanov, is forming a joint holding with Ivan Tavrin's Media-One Group.

AF Media Holding will transfer its stakes in the television channels 7TV and Muz-TV to the new structure. Media-One will transfer stakes in 33 regional television stations, the companies said in a joint statement.

A management company for the new holding will be formed through OOO Media-1 TV, which will be headed by Tavrin himself.

In addition, Tavrin will head 7TV while Andrei Dimitrov, the general director of Media, will be the general director of Muz-TV. The general director of Kommersant publishing house (also controlled by Usmanov), Demyan Kudryadtsev, has been elected to serve as the chairman of the boards at both channels.

Kudryadtsev told Interfax that AF Media Holding and Media-One would own the new holding company on a parity basis. "AF Media Holding will have 50% shares and Media-One will have 50%," he said.

"The parties are uniting because one of them has a television channel and the other has a broadcasting network," he said adding that the transactions would be complete by year's end.

Tavrin set up Media-One in 2007 by investing funds he received from the sale of the TV3 channel to the Prof-Media holding at the end of 2006. Media-One owns 33 television and 56 radio stations in the Russian regions. In addition to Tavrin, the company's shareholders include National Television Association vice president Igor Mishin and Renaissance Private Equity Fund I.

Last year, Tavrin agreed to sell 49% in OOO Media-1 TV to U.S. company Walt Disney for $223 million. However, the transaction was blocked by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), which said that Walt Disney would have had control over the company even with a 49% stake.