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17 June, 2013 16:00   ▪  

Ex-Chief Editor of Akhmetov's newspaper buys a TV channel and has an eye on the radio

Multimedia-Invest Group, a holding publishing Vesti, a Russian-language daily newspaper, buys UBR, a business-oriented satellite news channel, and plans to acquire a radio station.

According to Komersant Ukraine, Multimedia-Invest Group plans to launch a new TV project, Vest TV, based on the UBR channel. Ihor Huzhva is the new CEO and Serhiy Lohunov, former General Producer at Pershyi Ukraine, a satellite TV channel of the National TV Company, was appointed General Producer.

UBR was launched in 2008 by the YeS Production Group that was earlier involved in business news production for a number of TV channels. In 2011, the National Television and Radio Council issued the license for digital broadcasting in 11 oblast centres, including Kyiv, to UBR, but it refused to accept these after a storm of protests from the market players.

“We intend to complete the media group by the end of the year,” Ihor Huzhva says. “It's easier to do on the basis of the channel that already has the license, satellite frequency and contracts with cable providers.”

The concept of Vesti TV is still under revision. According to Huzhva, this will be a predominantly news channel.

“Multimedia-Invest Group is preparing to buy assets on the radio market. We are contemplating the launch of a radio station. News on this may come up soon,” Huzhva said. In November, Vesti FM is expected to launch broadcasting in November this year.

The new player purchasing assets on the Ukrainian media market stirs debate on the source of the investment. Ihor Huzhva, former Chief Editor of Segodnia, a newspaper owned by Rinat Akhmetov's SKM, calls himself the owner of Multimedia-Invest Group.

According to him, the Vesti newspaper and other projects are financed with loans but does not disclose the names of the creditors. Market players have mentioned Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice campaign and ex-Chief of Staff at Leonid Kuchma's Presidential Administration, as a possible investor. Huzhva denies this.

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