Published: August 25, 2010 09.17 Europe/London

Consolidation in Russia’s pay-TV market is gathering momentum, with the Moscow-based cable operator Akado about to be bought by the telco Svyazinvest.

Kommersant reports that the acquisition will be undertaken in two stages, with the Svyazinvest subsidiary Center Telecom initially acquiring 50% of Akado and thereby securing operational control of the company.

Svyazinvest has been looking to enter the Moscow pay-TV market for some time and Akado, formerly known as Renova Media, would be a good acquisition for the company.

Data published by IKS –Consulting indicates that Akado had 670,000 broadband and 446,000 pay-TV subscribers, the vast majority of which (600,000 and 423,000 respectively) were in the capital itself, as of Q1 this year. Its analogue (‘social TV’) subscriber base meanwhile stood at 985,000.

Akado accounts for 5% of the Russian broadband market and 7% of pay-TV subscribers in the country, while Svayzinvest claims a 36% of the broadband market. A

kado currently lists Viktor Vekselberg and Yuri Pripachkin as its main owners and is believed to be worth some $630-650 million (€498-514 million). However, it also has debts of $350 million.