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June 21, 2013 10:00
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Kurchenko buys 98% of Lozhkin’s media holding

UMH Group and VETEK group signed the sales and purchase agreement for 98% of the media holding’s shares, Korespondent reports based on the UMH Group’s official statement.

The transaction is planned to be closed in Q1’2014. The board of UMH Group will not change until the deal is finally closed.  

“98% of the company’s shares were transferred to safekeeping to an escrow agent, one of the UK’s most respected law firms,” the statement reports. “VETEK (owned by Serhiy Kurchenko – Ed.) will acquire the shares of most minority shareholders in individual projects, including entities affiliated to Hennadiy Boholiubov. The option with Petro Poroshenko to acquire his share in Korespondent and other joint projects was exercised in April.”

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“The ambitions VETEK group can significantly facilitate the development of UMH, especially in the area of new media, including through purchase of active businesses, and join the top 10 biggest media companies in the CIS,” Borys Lozhkin, UMH Group President, commented.

“The deal will provide the company with additional funding which can give a new impulse to the development of the company’s brands and reinforce its market position. The decisive aspect for us was VETEK’s assurance that it will preserve independence of editorial boards and not interfere with the editorial policies of the publications,” said Hryhoriy Shverk, First Vice President at the UMH Group.

Meanwhile, Forbes Ukraine published a statement of its Chief Editor Volodymyr Fedoryn who called the deal the end of the project.

“I see the sale of Forbes Ukraine (part of the UMH Group) as the end of the project as it is now. I am convinced that the buyer pursues one of the following three purposes (or all of them): shut the journalists up before the presidential election; whitewash its own reputation; and use the publication to solve issues that have nothing to do with media business,” he wrote. According to Fedoryn, he is leaving the publication as of October 1.

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Earlier, Ukrainian mass media reported that Borys Lozhkin’s UMH Group, one of the biggest media groups in Ukraine, completed negotiations to draw external funding on Thursday.

UMH Group comprises media projects in press, radio and Internet segments in Ukraine and Russia. The biggest and the most well-known ones include Korespondent, Forbes, Telenedelia (TV Week), Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukrayine (Komsomol Truth in Ukraine), Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts), Komanda (Team), and Football. Its radio stations include Nashe Radio (Our Radio), AvtoRadio (Auto Radio), EuropaPlus, Retro FM, Radio Alla and a number of local radio stations. UMH’s partners in the media business with non-controlling interest include Ihor Surkis (Dynamo radio), Hennadiy Boholiubov (Komsomolskaya Pravda), SKM Group (United Online Ventures that controls bigmir.net, tochka.net and i.ua portals).

This week, UMH and its partner, Hennadiy Boholiubov, announced the sale of Focus, a business weekly, to Vertex United owned by Odesa-based businessmen Borys Kaufman and Oleksandr Hranovskyi. Today,  the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine announced that it authorized United Media Holding NV, the media group’s holding company, to acquire shares of minority shareholders in Komsomolskaya Pravda, Radio Dovira (Trust Radio), Europa Plus, Jam FM, Radiorama and UkrPolhraphMedia companies. 

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