Private Russian Firm Bids for State Owned Gazprom-Media

15 July 2005

Russian Media Group, the nation's largest indigenous radio company, this week made an opportunistic - and possibly tongue in cheek - $175 million (€145m; £99.7m) offer for state-owned Gazprom-Media.

RMG president Sergei Arkhipov revealed Wednesday he had lodged an official bid after discovering that a planned asset-swap between parent company Gazprom and one of its subsidiaries valued Gazprom-Media at $100 million.

Explains Arkhipov: "We read media reports on the sum Gazprom wanted for Gazprom-Media and thought it was an opportunity to make an offer."

But Gazprom appears unwilling to take the offer seriously. "We, in turn, are ready to purchase Russian Media Group, and are ready to discuss financial aspects of the deal," gibed Gazprom-Media general director Nikolai Senkevich.

While an unnamed Gazprom mole is quoted by local newspaper Ekho Moskvy as saying, "sure [Arkhipov] is able to buy it, but who is going to allow it?"

Despite the fact that Gazprom-Media is widely perceived as the voice of the Kremlin, Arkhipov is playing mock-innocent and claims he has not sought approval of his offer from on high. "We have no connection to politics. We are an honest, transparent private company," he said

His offer of $175m was "just a starting price," he said, piling on the naiveté.

Data sourced from Moscow Times Online; additional content by WARC staff