Russia’s new law limiting foreign ownership of media companies to 20% has prompted the US-based CTC Media broadcaster to sell 80% of its shareholding in the Domashny, Peretz, CTC Love, and the Kazakh Channel 31 TV stations to billionaire Alisher Usmanov and his business partner Ivan Tavrin for a total of $255m.
Under the terms of the agreement announced today, 75% CTC Media’s shares will be transferred to the UTH media holding company with a further 5% to follow later. The deal is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.
Usmanov already controls the VKontakte social media site and a clutch of newspapers, magazines and a radio station through the Kommersant publishing house, while UTH owns the Channel U station and a 49% stake in The Disney Channel‘s Russian franchise.
CTC Media becomes the latest foreign media ownership to fall victim of the new legislation. Earlier this month, Germany’s Axel Springer announced that it was pulling out of Russia altogether.