March 23, 2012 14:35
Gusinsky sells RTVi for $10 mln to former head of Zvezda TV channel - paper
MOSCOW. March 23 (Interfax) - Russian businessman Vladimir Gusinsky has sold RTVi, a channel that broadcasts internationally for Russian viewers abroad, to the former general director of the Zvezda TV channel Ruslan Sokolov, Kommersant newspaper writes.
"The deal was finalized recently. We transferred the money and signed all the relevant documents. I represent only my own interests in this deal. I may invite somebody later as a business partner and I am looking into that. But for now it is just me," Sokolov said in an interview.
"I will not name the price, it was a considerable amount for the company and for me," he said when asked the price of the channel.
The newspaper said RTVi cost Sokolov around $10 million.
Asked how the deal looked on paper, the new owner said "the legal structure of the company is manifold. But it has been sold in full to me."
In reply to comments by his interviewer that half the RTVi share package was owned on a 50/50 basis by Boris Berezovsky and the family of the late Badri Patarkatsishvili, Sokolov said he knew nothing about that.
"I do not know Berezovsky and have not talked to him. Legally we purchased the company from Vladimir Gusinsky. And the way it is put together it shows that all the responsibility lies only with him. I repeat I do not know anything about Berezovsky. All issues were discussed only with Gusinsky. Whether there were arrangements or not - maybe this is completely not true, I do not know. Gusinsky disposed of the RTVi share package alone," Sokolov said.
Gusinsky would like to return to Russia to do business, Sokolov thinks.
The new owner of RTVi said he has been interested in the channel for some time. "Even when I headed Zvezda we were interested in this asset. After I stopped working there one of the projects I have been involved in is RTVi. I have been involved only with that for a year. We studied the company, carried out a detailed financial and legal analysis, met people," Sokolov said.
In early March there were Israeli press reports that Gusinsky had sold RTVi and that control had allegedly passed to Russian state media holding Zvezda.
Zvezda denied the rumors. "The rumor that Zvezda has bought RTVi is complete rubbish," a source at the TV and radio company told Interfax at the time.
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