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TV6 owner on the defensive

Shareholders get restless

MOSCOW — Boris Berezovsky has thrown down the gauntlet to minority shareholders in his TV-6 net, challenging them to sell their shares or end their carping over the web’s direction.

Berezovsky published an open letter in Russian business daily Kommersant on Wednesday, offering to buy the 15% stake in TV6 held by petroleum giant Lukoil.

The move follows legal action from Lukoil, which won a Moscow arbitration court ruling Sept. 27 that could liquidate TV6 on the basis of rarely used legislation concerning the relation of its balance sheet to mandatory founding capital.

The issue has gained a political dimension, given that TV6 is the home to journalists who left indie channel NTV in April after a contentious management takeover.

Lukoil opposed developments at TV6, claiming violation of its shareholder rights, as well as repeated interference in company management.

Berezovsky challenged Lukoil chief Vagit Alekperov to prove whether his interests in TV6 were economical or political.

“Any such decision from you will provide a clear answer to the question (as to) whether politics or business are the basis of your desire to liquidate TV-6,” Berezovsky wrote.

Berezovsky offered to purchase the 15% stake in TV6 for $10 million.

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