Prof-Media's TV3 deal OK'd

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LONDON -- The sale of one of Russia's last independently owned network television stations has been formally approved by federal authorities here, six weeks after Prof-Media -- the media arm of Vladimir Potanin's industrial group Interros Group -- agreed to buy Moscow-based TV 3.

Prof-Media's acquisition of TV3 holding company Independent Network Television Holding Ltd. for a reported $550 million (HR 10/24) gives it access to a national television network of 290 stations in 250 towns and cities across Russia, with a 2.8% market share.

The deal completes a run of major deals, giving Prof-Media a presence in all strategic media sectors, from magazines and radio to television and Internet.

Television accounts for nearly half of Russia's booming advertising market, making it a key target for the company, Prof-Media CEO Rafael Akopov said in a statement.

The company said it plans few immediate changes at TV3 but will look at ways to integrate television assets it owns into the operation next year.

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