Media law forces Disney to cut $300 mln in investment in its Russian channel
MOSCOW, February 4, (RAPSI) - Walt Disney Company (US) is to reduce Russian investment by almost $300 million due to the 20% restriction on the foreign share of Russian media, Interfax reports on Wednesday.
Last year, the amended media law limited the foreign share in Russian media to 20%. This may force Walt Disney Co. to lessen its share in Disney Russia. The company is considering possibilities to comply with the new law, and, as one of the options, it may have to cut investment in the Russian channel by almost $300 million, according to the company’s report.
Walt Disney Co. invested $300 million in the Disney Russia channel in 2011. The company purchased 49% of 7TV, the channel’s operating company, and shared a joint venture with U-TV.
U-TV reserved 51% in the joint venture. The deal was announced at a meeting between Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger and then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The amended law on media limits the share of foreign entities and capital in Russian media to 20% (direct or indirect ownership). Earlier, foreign participation in television and radio was restricted to 50% and did not concern print media. The amended law covers all media assets, including print and online media outlets. The restriction will come into force on January 1, 2016. Russian beneficiaries owning shares through foreign holdings have until January 1, 2017, to bring the ownership in compliance with the new law.