Russian Businessman Buys Moscow Times and Vedomosti Newspapers

Moscow Times Sample Covers and Mobile Device Display

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 30, 2015)

Finnish media group Sanoma said Thursday it would sell The Moscow Times newspaper to a Russian businessman.

Sanoma has agreed to sell United Press, which publishes newspapers and magazines in Russia including The Moscow Times, and signed a deal to sell its minority stake in business daily Vedomosti, the company said in an online statement.

Demyan Kudryavtsev, a former chief executive of Russian publishing house Kommersant, confirmed to Vedomosti that he was the buyer and wrote in an e-mail to Sanoma employees in Russia that it was “a huge honor an responsibility” to own the assets.

He also said he would develop that company and had no immediate plans to change its management.

A source in Sanoma told Vedomosti that while the deal to sell the Vedomosti stake had been closed, the agreement on United Press, which publishes National Geographic and Men’s Health, among other titles, had not yet been finalized.

United Press and The Moscow Times were fully owned by Sanoma, while Vedomosti is co-owned with Pearson, the publisher of the Financial Times, and Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal. Vedomosti has a small circulation of about 75,000 but is respected for the quality of its information and is read by Russia’s elite. The paper frequently publishes editorials critical of Russian authorities and President Vladimir Putin.

Both Vedomosti and The Moscow Times are affected by legislation passed last year, in the midst of Moscow’s confrontation with the West over Ukraine, that bans foreign companies from owning more than 20 percent in Russian media companies after February 2017.

Sanoma has been seeking buyers for its Russian assets since 2013 as part of a restructuring of its business.

Boris Berezovsky file photo

Boris Berezovsky

The company said it would make a capital gain on the sales of about 8 million euros ($8.9 million) before currency translation adjustments.

Kudryavtsev is a former journalist who was appointed CEO of the Kommersant publishing house in 2006 by the company’s then-owner, oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who died in Britain in 2013. Kudryavtsev left Kommersant in 2012.