October 04, 2013 12:13
Usmanov, Tavrin selling UTV Holding - paper
MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) - The owners of UTV Holding, Alisher Usmanov sand Ivan Tavrin have decided to pull out of their joint television business and are offering to sell 100% of UTV.
The sellers are being represented by VTB Capital. Several Russian media groups have received offers to buy UTV, business daily Vedomosti reported on Friday, citing unnamed managers at media groups and other sources.
The sellers are not naming a price for UTV, but are waiting for offers from potential buyers. The unofficial figure is $800 million, which is "very expensive," Vedomosti cited one source as saying.
UTV Holding was formed in 2009 with the merger of the TV assets of Tavrin's Media-1 and Usmanov's AF Media Holding. The partners now own the company equally. AF Media contributed its shares in 7TV and Muz-TV to the new company, while Media-1 contributed shares in 33 regional broadcasters, the consolidation of which increased the two TV channels' coverage. Media-1 also owns the Vyberi Radio group of 54 radio stations in 20 Russian cities.
UTV carried out a rebranding of 7TV in 2011, renaming it Semyorka. Walt Disney bought 49% of the channel in the fall of that year in a deal worth $300 million. The Disney channel began broadcasting on Semyorka's frequency in 2012. Also in 2012, the U channel replaced Muz-TV, which moved to cable.
Tavrin headed UTV from the time of its creation until early 2012. In April 2012 he was appointed CEO of mobile operator MegaFon (MOEX: MEGF), which carried out an IPO last November. The Garsdale holding company, the principal shareholder of which is Usmanov's USM Holdings, owns 50% plus 100 shares in MegaFon.
Tavrin is now completely focused on MegaFon and wants to completely divest UTV, Vedomosti reported one of his acquaintances as saying. Another reason cited for the sale of UTV is the slowdown in the growth of the TV market.
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