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Leonard Blavatnik put "Province" for sale

Publishing house "Province", which produces weekly newspapers in 27 regions with a total circulation of 550 thousand copies, can be sold in the near future. The leaders of several major media companies told "Izvestia", that representatives of the publishing house came out to them with offers to purchase. This was confirmed in "Meridian Capital", which is looking for a buyer.

- We have met several times with representatives of the publishing house, got acquainted with the documents provided, with indicators of advertising revenue and circulation, - said a top manager of the publishing house, which was involved in the negotiations with the "Meridian Capital."

According to the "Izvestia", the representatives of "Province" came out to a few more media holdings with an offer to purchase, including those without regional newspapers.

Oleg Nikanov, CEO of the publishing house "Province" told  "News" that "such negotiations probably are going on".

- The shareholders really had a desire to sell the publishing house immediately - said Nikanov.

Under the shareholders he means the structure of the founder and chairman of the board of directors of Access Industries - billionaire Leonard Blavatnik - in 2010 they became the owners of the publishing house. According to media managers familiar with the transaction, the transaction was cash-strapped.

- Asset was just to pay their debts - Igor Molodtcov, who took over as CEO of the publishing house immediately after the transaction told  "Izvestia".  "Province" is sold permanently, as far as I know, since 2009.

Indeed the winter of 2009 the founder of the "Province" Boris Giller auctioned 100% of the publishing house with a starting price of $ 18 million. Tender was scheduled for January 25, 2010, but it was cancelled. It soon became aware of the change of ownership of the publishing house. Igor Molodtsov was invited for the post of general director, before that, he worked as deputy director of the regional development of "Arguments and Facts" JSC.

- In 2010, I proposed building of a multi-media holding company to the shareholders, which would be a strong version of the popular online resource, an active presence in social networks, on mobile devices - recalls Molodtsov. We had planned even radio project, aligning with the "Komsomolskaya Pravda". The parameters were as follows: we are investing $ 5 million over three years, sell for $ 15 million, but it seemed to shareholders that they had put enough into this construction and it's time to "fix" itself it.

In "Meridian Capital"  it was told to "Izvestia" a “quick response” came for the asset sale.

There are several companies that are interested in publishing house - said the CEO of the company Inna Yumasheva. - The buyer is yet to be determined.

Yumasheva calls "Province" an attractive asset for companies that are already working in the media market.

Analyst of "Finam Management" Maxim Klyagin found it difficult to assess the actual "Province" and suggested that the search for the buyer may last a long time.

- Situation in the print media industry is now quite complex, which negatively affects the overall attractiveness of these assets, - he said.

- The company did not disclose the financial and operating performance. Focusing on indirect data can be roughly estimate a similar business at $ 10.5 million, excluding debt - according to some media reports, it may be high - added Klyagin.

- At first glance the asset looks interesting, given the geography of a large-scale project, and potentially an attractive format. It is possible that a proposal may be interesting for specific investors - said the analyst as "Finam Management".

According to Igor Molodtsov, "Province" may be of interest to the publishing house "Arguments and Facts".

- I think that the "AIF" with their powerful advertising machine would be useful part of the provincial weeklies, it would significantly increase the profits and revenues of the regional network, - told the former CEO of "Province".

Publishing house "Province" was created by Boris Giller in 1994 and apart from regional weeklies included a printing press, which were later sold.