Lesnevsky pair tune out of Ren-TV

Former toppers give up on buy back

Russian web Ren-TV’s mother and son toppers Irena and Dmitry Lesnevsky have given up their attempts to buy back into the station they founded, now owned by Euro giant RTL and two Russian industrial companies.

On Saturday, they will ankle as prexy and director general, respectively.

Their decision follows confirmation of shareholder changes at Russia’s No. 6 station, which reaches 97 million viewers through more than 350 local broadcasters, and records an average audience share of around 5%.

Earlier in the summer, majority shareholder power monopoly United Energy Systems sold its 70% holding of the five-year-old station to national steel group Severstal for $100 million. Simultaneously, the Lesnevskys sold their 30% stake for an undisclosed amount to RTL.

Severstal later sold half its stake to Russian natural resources company Surgutneftegaz.

The Lesnevskys stayed on but had reportedly tried to buy back part of the company and now don’t wish to remain in purely managerial roles.

Alexander Ordzhonikidze will become director of the wider Ren-TV Media holding with Ralf Zibenaler, representing RTL, as his deputy.

Ren-TV was known for its politically independent news that set it apart from other Kremlin-friendly coverage. That may now be in doubt.

The Lesnevskys did not say what they intend to do next, but Dmitry Lesnevsky may head into film production. He produced Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Venice 2003 prize winner “The Return” via Ren-TV’s film production arm.

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