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General director Gazprominvestholding and owner of Kommersant Publishing House Alisher Usmanov
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June 23, 2008
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Gazeta.ru Gets in the Soup
Alisher Usmanov and the owners of the Sup (Soup) company have traded Internet assets. Kommersant Publishing House has received 50 percent of Sup, which owns the Russian-language LiveJournal service, while Sup has received 100 percent of gazeta.ru. Both sides acknowledge that the deal took place without an exchange of cash. Entrepreneur Alexander Mamut is said to have close to a controlling share in Sup.
Editor-in-chief of gazeta.ru Mikhail Mikhailin said that, under the terms of the agreement, the publication will remain independent. Its advertising, editorial and personnel policy will continue to be the prerogative of Kommersant. The publishing house will have two representatives on the board of directors of Sup. Andrey Zubkov, managing director of Moorgate Capital, commented that If gazeta.rus receipts in 2007 were about $5 million, the entire project could cost $10 million, $15 million maximum. When Sup bought LiveJournal in December 2007, it was a matter of $30 million. A source close to gazeta.ru says that its receipts in 2008 will be $10 million and net profit $2 million.

Kommersant Publishing House acquired gazeta.ru and Secret of the Firm Publishing House in December 2006 from Cube Capital UK Ltd and media businessmen Alexander Loktev and Yury Katsman. According to the TNS Web Index, gazeta.ru has a daily readership of 116,000. Mikhailin says that that is the number of readers in Moscow alone. TNS Web Index placed the daily audience of LiveJournal at 466,000. Several analysts say, however, that, in spite of its large audience, Sups websites do not turn a profit.

Mikhailin commented that gazeta.ru is looking to the technology the Sup company has for the opportunity to create our own blogosphere and to improve interactive work with readers. He continued that It is our intention that the partnership with the Russian-language segment of LiveJournal and the attraction of new in formational partners to it in 2008 and 2009 will allow gazeta.ru to strengthen those brand names and bring the projects to a new level of capitalization.

All the Article in Russian as of June 23, 2008

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