Roman Abramovich disconnected the First Channel

VTB fully bought out the share of a businessman in a television company.
VTB State Bank announced the purchase of a share of Roman Abramovich in the "First Channel". The businessman entered the capital of the TV channel since 2001, and at the time of the transaction he owned 20% in the company. Now the largest private shareholder of the channel has remained the National Media Group with a share of 29%.

VTB Capital acquired a 20% stake in Channel One JSC from ORT-KB, a company owned by Roman Abramovich, VTB said in a statement. As a result, the share of Roman Abramovich in the TV channel was bought out completely.

The deal is part of VTB's direct investment business, the group explained. “We are constantly studying the market, including the media segment, and are looking at attractive assets,” says First Deputy President of VTB Yuri Soloviev. “Channel One has a huge market position. And the digital media transformation that has taken place opens up new opportunities for the TV channel, and we believe in the success of management’s efforts to further digitalize the channel and develop digital content. ” Terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

Last year, in a consortium with the National Media Group (NMG), she acquired control of STS Media. Now NMG, which is controlled by several companies, including Russia Bank Yuri Kovalchuk and its partners, is a partner of the bank in Channel One with a share of 29%, another 51% of the First belongs to the state and its structures: Federal Property Management Agency - 38.9 %, FGUP ITAR-TASS - 9.1% and FGUP "TTC" Ostankino "'- 3%.

Roman Abramovich entered the capital of the "First Channel" for 18 years. In 2001, Mr. Abramovich’s structures acquired 49% of ORT (the former name of Channel One) from Boris Berezovsky for $ 175 million, previously reported to Kommersant. In 2011, a businessman sold 25% of Channel One to NMG. Last year, Roman Abramovich sold an additional 4% to NMG and reduced his stake in “First” to 20% in order to comply with the requirements for media owners with foreign citizenship (the businessman has an Israeli passport).

The First Channel requires regular subsidies from the federal budget to stabilize the financial situation, Kommersant reported earlier. From the calculations prepared by PwC, it follows that in 2018–2021, 6.5 billion rubles are needed, and in 2022–2025 - 5 billion rubles. in year. Thus, the channel has accumulated debts to its main content provider, the Red Square group of Arkady Rotenberg, in the amount of about 7 billion rubles, a smaller amount it owes to several other TV series producers, a Kommersant source familiar with the situation said.

VTB has already had major investments in the media business. For example, the bank financed the construction of the Glavkino film studio, and in 2017 bought it for 500 thousand rubles. the founders, among whom were the director Fyodor Bondarchuk and the head of Channel One, Konstantin Ernst, and in January filed a bankruptcy petition for Glavkino. VTB did not comment on this.

In addition, VTB is financing the reconstruction of 39 metropolitan cinemas, which, since 2015, has been handled by the ADG Group. The project is estimated at more than 50 billion rubles. The first object will be launched this year, the company promises.