Published: 07.53 Europe/London, May 20, 2011
RTL Group may be about to undertake an asset swap in Russia, exchanging its 30% stake in the broadcaster Ren TV for 7.5% in the National Media Group (NMG). Besides being the owner of the largest cable operator in Russia, the latter jointly owns Channel One, the countryís leading broadcaster, and Channel Five.
Quoting a source close to the potential deal, Kommersant reports that the two parties have already asked the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for approval and that a final decision may be announced as soon as the end of this month.
RTL Group acquired 30% of Ren TV in 2005 and it had until recently been widely assumed that the company was preparing to leave the Russian TV market.
Last year, it sold its other major asset in the country, a 50% stake in thematic channel producer Content Union.
It has also failed to publish Ren TVís results for 2010.
Interestingly, should the deal go ahead, RTL Group could soon also find itself with an indirect stake in MTG-backed CTC Media, in which NMG is seeking to acquire a 25% stake.