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Russian media law amendments pass second and third reading

Yuliana Slashcheva

Yuliana Slashcheva

Proposed amendments to Russian media law, which would block foreign investors owning more than 20% of Russian media firms, passed their second and third readings in State Duma on Friday.

The lower house of the Russian parliament passed the amendments by a reported vote of 430 to two, without debate. They will now pass to a reading in the upper house – the Federation Council – and, if approved, will be signed off by the President.

The laws will apply to both existing and future foreign ownership interests in Russian firms and, if passed, will come into force on January 1, 2016. Companies will then have until January 2017 to fall in line with the regulations.

“While we do not currently expect this law to adversely affect our operating business, it does have substantial implications for our corporate structure and stockholders,” said Yuliana Slashcheva, CEO of Russia’s CTC Media.

“We are therefore, together with our advisors, analysing the potential outcomes of the implementation of this legislation, and considering all actions that we and our stockholders may take in order to comply with it and to protect stockholders’ interests.”

CTC Media is currently 38% owned by Modern Times Group, a Swedish listed company, and 25% owned by Telcrest Investments Limited, a Cypriot private limited company. The rest of the business is owned by a number of public stockholders, including US and European investors.