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Axel Springer Russia refuses to comment on rumors of possible sale of its Russian media

Regina von Flemming, general director of the publishing house Axel Springer, has called the information on the possible sale by the German holding of its Russian media "rumors."

"We don't comment on rumors on the market," Flemming told Interfax on Sept.7.

Some media earlier reported, citing their sources in the media sphere, that Axel Springer is conducting negotiations on the sale of 80 percent of its assets in Russia. Among the potential buyers, the reports mention Alexander Fedotov, owner of Artcom Media Group, Grigory Berezkin, the head of the ESN Group, the publishing house Komsomolskaya Pravda and the newspaper Metro, and Ruben Vardanyan, former shareholder of Troika Dialog.

According to the media, the other 20 percent of the assets may go to Flemming, who has led the Russian publishing house for the past ten years.

A law under which foreign capital in Russian media cannot exceed 20 percent will take effect in Russia on February 1, 2016. In this regard, the administrations of publications in which foreign capital exceeds this level have recently tried to restructure their assets.

Specifically, the holding Hearst Shkulev Media had to transfer 80% of its Russian media assets under the management of its Russian partner Viktor Shkulev. Discovery Communications, which owns Discovery and Animal Planet, has created a joint venture with the National Media Group. STS-Media is also actively restructuring its business.

Axel Springer Russia is a subsidiary of the large European media holding Axel Springer AG. It publishes the Russian-language versions of the magazines Forbes, OK!, GEO, etc.