Last December, when The Walt Disney Company announced it agreed to acquire a 49 percent stake in a joint venture with Media-One Holdings to launch a Disney-branded free-to-air TV channel in Russia, the deal looked sharp. Later, it was revealed that Walt Disney would invest $223 million for its stake. Walt Disney planned to invest cash and provide programming and marketing expertise and content acquisition support in return for its stake in the Russian TV broadcasting joint-venture.
On February 20, the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) announced on its web-site that it refused an application made by Catalpa Investments Limited (a Disney affiliate according to Interfax) to acquire a 49 percent stake in the new company, MO-TV Holdings Limited. Based on deal documents, FAS made a conclusion that Catalpa would control the company in spite of acquiring only 49 percent of it.
Media-One owns and operates 30 regional TV stations in Russia which are currently affiliated with various TV networks or programmed locally. Renaissance Private Equity Fund I has a stake in Media-One Holdings.
Last October, FAS refused Google’s $140 million acquisition of Begun contextual advertising service from Rambler Media.