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Anti-Kremlin media Slon, Dozhd and Bolshoi Gorod to hold Moscow IPO

0 17 June 2014

Internet publications Bolshoi Gorod, Slon and TV Channel Dozhd (TV Rain) are to be combined into a holding company and listed on the Moscow Stock Exchange. Information about the new holding company’s upcoming IPO was confirmed by Alexander Vinokourov, an investor in the project.

Preparation for the placement of shares will begin this week, which means it isn’t far off. According to Vinokourov, the total shares on offered will be worth between 8 and 20 million USD. The money will be spent on a new studio for Dozhd to allow the channel will be able to move away from the Red October centre where all 3 publications are currently based; the lease is to end on June 20th.

Funds will also be spent on a new financial model. Following the example set by Dozhd, Slon will begin to offer paid content as the holding company’s aims to make the bulk of its money from subscriptions instead of advertising.

Regarding preparations for the exit, Vinokourov apparently has plans to use his experience as CEO of the investment fund bank, KIT Finance.

“we can do many things ourselves. We just need to determine at what stages and what features we need help with, and then invite people to help us.”

Initially Dozhd’s paid subscription scheme worked quite well; after they launched it in September they were able to bring $2 million. However, the anti-Kremlin channel took a big hit in January this year when major cable TV providers chose to stop broadcasting it after a survey was posted on the Dozhd website asking whether Leningrad should have been handed over in the Second World War. Total revenue for the three publications last year was $362 million, with Slon bringing in $106 million and Bolshoi Gorod, $63 million. This represented significant growth on 2012.


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