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Modern Times Group (MTG) has completed the sale of its Russian and international pay TV channel businesses for a total of US.5 million.

Russian company LLC Sinerdzhi has acquired the Russian channels business while Sabiero Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of private equity firm Baring Vostok, has acquired MTG’s international channels business.

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MTG executive vice-president and CEO of the acquired businesses, Irina Gofman, will be responsible for these businesses under the new ownership.

The existing Russian and international channels’ management teams and employees will also stay the same.

Commenting on the deal, MTG president and CEO, Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, said that the sale “has been made necessary” by the new Russian legislation on foreign ownership of media firms.

“We have undertaken a thorough review of the options available to us in this context and to seek the best possible outcome for the stakeholders in the businesses and MTG as a whole,” said Lindemann.

Viasat has 15 channels available in Russia, including TV1000, TV1000 Action, TV1000 Comedy HD, TV1000 Megahit HD, TV1000 Premium HD, TV1000 Russian Kino, Viasat Explore, Viasat Golf HD, Viasat History and Viasat Nature.

Olga Paskina, CEO of National Media Group, said that the Viasat World portfolio of channels had a leading presence in cinema and facrtual channels in Russia, and the JV was logical development of the company’s pay TV strategy, focused on factual, sprots and kids content.

The joint venture will be headed up by Alexei Krol, CEO of Viasat Channels Russia.

Russia’s Vi Target secured the exclusive rights to sell advertising on the Viasat channels in January.

“These transactions and the agreement announced by CTC Media aim to conclude our actions to comply with the new Russian laws.

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