News Corp looks to grow business in Russia

MUMBAI: His son Lachlan Murdoch may have suddenly quit the company a few days back but media moghul Rupert Murdoch is not spending much time brooding over it. He is said to be looking to expanding the business by buying a stake in Russian broadcasting and production outfit Ren TV.

Media reports indicate that the Russian steel group Severstal wants to sell part of its stake in mid-sized television station Ren-TV to News Corp. Top News Corp executives met a couple of days ago for talks with senior executives from the Russian industrial conglomerate Severstal. Ren TV is one of Russia's largest independent stations.

News Corp is said to be looking for a 35 per cent stake in Ren TV. The Kremlin, which has taken direct or indirect control over most of Russia's television stations, has been reluctant to allow foreigners to buy into major local television broadcasters.

Last month, Severstal agreed to pay electricity monopoly UES $100 million for 70 per cent of Ren-TV. This was seen as a sign the state was tightening its grip over the media. Severstal's chief shareholder, Alexei Mordashov is said to be loyal to the Kremlin. Ren TV boasts a reach of nearly 100 million viewers.

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