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    MAJOR RUSSIAN BROADCASTER BUYS 16% STAKE IN EURONEWS

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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's national broadcasting corporation VGTRK has purchased a 16 percent stake in EuroNews, the Kommersant business daily reports. The deal was struck after lengthy talks with EuroNews' top management, the periodical says.

    The sides won't disclose the deal's value, saying it is a commercial secret. But according to Kommersant, the deal is worth 3.5 million dollars. To the Russian side, it is not so much about earning dividends, as about raising the country's profile in Europe. The stock is to be paid for with commercial proceeds of the VGTRK's Rossiya channel.

    As is known, all of EuroNews' shares are managed by the Secemie consortium, which unites over twenty television companies from across Europe. The 16% stake in Secemie has made VGTRK one of the top five EuroNews shareholders. France Television network, with its 27 percent stake, currently dominates Secemie. Italy's RAI and Spain's TVE2, each of which holds around 18 percent, also have a strong influence. EuroNews' fifth largest shareholder is Switzerland's TSR, owning a 11 percent stake.

    VGTRK Chair Oleg Dobrodeyev told Kommersant in an interview that its company is one of the major suppliers of news reports to Europe. This makes Russia closer to the European media than many of the new EU members, he pointed out.

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