Amedia, Russia's Largest Privately Owned TV Studio, Reportedly Seeks Buyer

Len Blavatnik - Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists - 2010
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The Moscow studio, partly owned by mogul Len Blavatnik, is in talks with media groups

Russia's largest privately owned film and TV studio, Moscow-based Amedia, is reportedly in talks with Russian and foreign media firms about a possible sale.

The studios have produced a raft of top Russian television shows, including Poor Nastya and Ne Rodis Krasivoy (Not Born Beautiful), a Russian adaptation of top U.S network hit Ugly Betty. They have weathered hard times after the global recession of 2008 with the help of investment from Access Industries, owned by Len Blavatnik, the London-based billionaire who also owns Warner Music Group.

Blavatnik spent around $45 million to build his stake in Amedia.

Now the studio, founded in 2002 by former Russian state television station executive and head of the Russian TV producers association Alexander Akopov, is looking for buyers willing to bid around $100 million, business newspaper Vedomosti reports.

Gazprom Media, a division of state-owned natural-gas monopoly Gazprom, and top-ranking commercial TV channel CTC, for which Amedia has produced a wide range of ratings winning content, are understood to be among the companies in the running to buy the station.

Amedia gained a reputation for quality programming after producing Poor Nastya — a sumptuous 19th-century costume drama that cost nearly $12 million and was Russia's most expensive television production 10 years ago.

But revenues at the studio, which were around $80 million a year in 2008, have been hit by the global economic crisis and a stagnant television advertising market in Russia. Last year, its turnover was reportedly around $60 million.

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