CLOSING SHOP: German media giant Axel Springer has exited the Russian market.
Reacting to a disputed new Russian law that will limit foreign ownership as of Jan. 1, 2016, of media companies to 20 percent, the group sold its Russian activities to publisher Alexander Fedotov. The Springer titles in Russia include Forbes, forbes.ru, finanz.ru, OK!, Geo and Gala Biografia. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Fedotov owns Artcom Media. One of Russia’s most rapidly growing media groups, it publishes domestically fashion magazines such as Numéro, L’Officiel, SNC and Port; design and interior titles, including Interni and Objekt Russia; multiple Web offerings, such as trendspace.ru, and golf-oriented publications.
Springer founded its Russian subsidiary in 2003. Ralph Büchi, president international of Axel Springer SE, said: “When we entered the Russian market we believed in the further economic development and liberalization of the country. We regret that we must leave the country due to the new media regulations.…As the publisher of the influential business magazine Forbes Russia, being limited to a minority interest is unacceptable.”
This is not Springer’s first setback in Russia. In 2010, the group closed down the critical news magazine Russki Newsweek after six years of losses.