Pyotr Aven: "On the STS-Media, we earned $ 1.16 billion" | Предприниматель

Pyotr Aven: “On the STS-Media, we earned $ 1.16 billion”

In May, one of the largest companies in Russia, “Alfa-Group” (which is also represented in Ukraine), got rid of the television assets, selling the bank “Russia” 25.2% of shares “STS Media” — the owner of CTC channel, ” Home “and their clients. The details of the sale Yury Kovalchuk «STS Media» says co-owner of “Alfa”, the president of Alfa Bank, Pyotr Aven.

— Are you satisfied with the results of the transaction?

— Absolutely.

— turns out, Alfa Group has sold 25.3% stake in CTC Media a premium of over 40% of the market.
— It’s not quite true. At the time the transaction was a 20% premium to the average market price for six months. Then the stock price fell, so the deal now looks more favorable.

— In any case, premium 20% blocking stake is too high.

— It’s normal commercial terms. Nothing fancy no one offered to us. Given the fact that our package gives more rights than just blocking. By agreement of the shareholders, we actually shared control with Modern Times Group (MTG owned 38,3% CTC Media ). We really have equal rights in managing the company with our Swedish partner. The new shareholders’ agreement was rewritten almost unchanged. Yury Kovalchuk structure in STS have exactly the same rights as MTG. The new shareholder remains in force and the possibility of an exchange of shares with MTG, which we have negotiated for themselves. Therefore, 20% premium to the market is absolutely justified.

— What is the return on investment was Alfa Group?

— We started from a purely financial operations: in 1996-1997 to $ 6.5 million bought the rights to the debt of American companies StoryFirst Communication, which at that time owned the CTC. After the 1998 crisis, it became clear that the company can not pay. We evaluated the debt of $ 10 million, underpaid StoryFirst Communication has $ 8 million and gained from it about 20% of TSS. And nearly 6% in 2004, bought additional approximately $ 17 million

— It turns out that you spent on the purchase of a package of $ 31.5 million and sold it for $ 1.072 billion, the output is worth 34 times more.

— In total, more: $ 30 million came in the form of dividends, and about $ 60 million — during the IPO CTC. That is, in total we have received from this project is about $ 1.16 billion when we started to fly, could not even come close to imagine what will be the return on investment. This is largely due to the fact that the market is rapidly growing.

— At what point did you realize that it was time to part with the CTC?

— We wanted to IPO, knowing that it will give a strong impetus to growth. After the IPO in 2006, we were quite ready to sell.

— Were there many suggestions?

— No serious offers to buy our package of STS was never.

— And you were looking for a buyer?

— Enabled — no. We believed that this is a good package, it grows well. But we have always declared their willingness to sell it. For us, investment in STS has always been financial, not strategic.

— Why a result of the package is sold Kovalchuk?

— This question is not for me. I think Kovalchuk structures are now in a unique situation: they have already had a lot of media assets, and buying the CTC, they were nedogonyaemymi. Now it is the largest mediainvestory can say “Russian Murdoch.” In this sense, they are firmly staked out the position of industry leader. This act was very logical.

— How long were negotiations with Kovalchuk?

— We talked with George and his boys Valentinovich at least six months, maybe longer. Discussed the different schemes: first option considered by their gradual entry into the capital of the company, it was assumed that they would buy half, and two years later the rest. Buyers want to get acquainted with the business JTS. They believed that we are able to manage the company, as shareholders, and wanted us to help them gradually enter into the company. At some point, they have proposed to buy everything at once. I was approached with a request to remain co-chairman of the board of directors for another year. This was the condition of the deal. The second is co-CEO Hans-Holger MTG Albrecht.

— you agreed to with pleasure or without?

— We were engaged by more than 12 years. Psychologically difficult to drop everything at once, I’d like to get it all on to develop normally. For these reasons, I agreed. On the one hand, I feel a moral responsibility, on the other — the buyers insist on it.

— What changes in your work?

— My function will remain the same. I will help develop the company. Moreover, I am going to buy myself a little, a few million dollars stake in CTC. I think it would be morally right and economically advantageous. It is stupid to do something, having no material interest. On the other hand, is a good sign for investors, a sign that I believe in the company. Today the shares are cheap, but I am absolutely convinced that they can cost significantly more. Shares fell after our deal, because there was uncertainty in the market. While no one knows what will happen and how. But I am confident that the company will be completely normal development. What’s more, the arrival of the bank “Russia” and aid Yuri Valentinovich give a new impetus for development. I sincerely believe that the company has very good prospects.

— From Kovalchuk who led the negotiations?

— I talked with Kovalchuk directly.

— How do you imagine the strategy of the new shareholder?

— I believe that he is doing is perfectly reasonable.

— There’s more politics or business?

— I’m not very versed in politics. From a business perspective, of course, buyers have a large number of disparate assets. If everything is right slap together, they begin to manage well, I think it would be a very serious story. They can create a really big company. They share in the “First”, “Fifth” and Ren, three channels in the STS. This is a unique platform for the construction of the holding.

I do not want to brag, but CTC today — it’s very western, very well built up a company in the market, with the most serious financial discipline. The company is listed on NASDAQ. With partners, too, everything is in order: MTG — a very good partner. I think it was a very wise decision. I’m sure they were right.

— you know, as Kovalchuk will “sculpt” your megamediaholding?

— There are many different options. They need to hire an investment bank or banks, and think together about the different stories. The vision of some ideas from them, of course, there is, but to decide in what direction all this build, you need serious discussion. Today, it seems to me that they have knowledge and understanding do not have, but it’s natural. I’m sure that will be dismantled.

— Which banks Kovalchuk works now?

— In a deal no foreign banks did not participate, we did it all ourselves — Alfa-Bank and the Bank “Russia”.

— now, just going a period of accumulation?

— Yes. At least in the CCC next year nothing will happen, will only be a reflection of new realities. The company will work as work. My task is to preserve and develop what has been built. I think that this dogma is identical to the desire of the new shareholder.

— Some new people come in STS?

— Specific plans to entice some people c no other channels. We have to date assembled a good team with him and we’ll move on. All it was, and remains, will not change either in terms of personnel policy, either in terms of the concept of the channel. Management will not change unless someone did not want to leave. No revolutions, no plans. The fact that I was co-chaired the board of directors, said about the succession of the course. The course will be exactly the same as it was. Today, we are not going to change anything.

— Do you think the CCC — the last purchase or Kovalchuk will be more?

— I do not know. They have accumulated enough assets that are difficult to digest. I think the STS will become a center of crystallization around which everything will be built. STS — quoted, clear the company, if something “to cling”, just to the CTC, which can become the center of this empire. The result is a media holding, which in Russia has ever had.

— What are your partners for the STS responded to the arrival of a new shareholder?

— They have formally had the right of first refusal, we have made them an offer, I talked to them, explaining that, in my view, the arrival of a new shareholder — a boon for the channel. I introduced George Valentinovich with Christina Stenbeck, the mistress of MTG, with CEO MTG Hans-Holger Albrecht. It seems to me that they liked each other. And I think they get a very good partnership. Not all Russian partners they liked to, but against the bank “Russia” and Yuri Valentinovich their comments were. Mutual impression, in my opinion, it was quite good.

— you no longer want to invest in media assets?

— No, not going. We, as financial investors can enter into different assets, if we see some possibility, it can be and will enter, but we do strategic media assets will not. This is a very specific, time-consuming work, they can not do as a hobby. If you do media, you should only deal with the media. An example of successful mediabiznesmenov, the same Murdoch or Maxwell Turner, shows that it can only deal with very professional and spend it all the time. It is very difficult, very volatile business, in which, on the one hand, there is a financial component, on the other — a very strong creative. We somehow quite well balanced, but in principle, if this business, you need to deal exclusively with them. We definitely did not relocate there.

— But Kovalchuk enough other assets in addition to media: The bank “Russia”, “Sogaz” Gazprombank.

— It does not matter. It is important that the media holding for them — this is a strategic point. They are not financial, they are strategic investors, as opposed to us.

— Are there logic in which assets Kovalchuk gets on the market?

— I think so. They acquire the best assets. The industry is booming. According to forecasts of the advertising market will grow by more than 20% per year. Today, there are few assets that can grow well. Media, in terms of financial return, a very good asset.

— How to Alfa Group plans to spend $ 1 billion received?

— It’s not so much money for the group, only from TNK-BP in the form of dividends we receive a comparable amount annually. English football clubs and yachts just are not going to buy.

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