Russia's Gazprom To Buy Top Local Tabloid

23 November 2006

MOSCOW: The media arm of Russia's state-controlled gas titan Gazprom is set to buy one of the nation's biggest tabloid newspapers, Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Gazprom-Media, which already owns Russia's biggest television station, NTV, and the Izvestia daily paper, remains zip-lipped on the price it will pay for the title, currently owned by Prof-Media.

The paper, known as a supporter of Vladimir Putin's administration, has a total daily print run of between 700,000 and 830,000. The deal is likely to be completed in January.

Critics of the Kremlin say it is seeking to squeeze media freedoms by bringing major media outlets under the control of state-run companies.

However, Gazprom-Media insists: "The goal of the deal is purely to create business benefit for the holding."

Data sourced from Moscow; additional content by WARC staff