After the merger, Aktion and ICFED will become the largest publisher in the Russian media market

    Two leading players in the segment of specialized professional publications (B2B) , Aktion Media Group and the International Center for Financial and Economic Development ( ICFER ) announced the merger. The new publishing house will become the largest in the Russian publishing market.

    The Aktion was widely known for its launch of the Glavbukh magazine . According to TNS Russia for March-July 2015, the average audience of one of its numbers throughout Russia exceeds one million people over the age of 12 years. Other Aktion's projects include the magazines Financial Director , Commercial Director , and HR Director . ICFER publishes “Tax Disputes” ,“State order in questions and answers” , “Budget accounting and reporting in questions and answers” , “Questions of the North” , “Schoolchild’s health” and others.

    55% of the ICFER before the merger belonged to the Dutch company Wolters Kluwer . The remaining 45% belonged to Russian owners. The company provides b2b information services in 40 countries. Revenues of Wolters Kluwer in 2014 reached almost € 3.7 billion, operating profit - € 569 million, net profit - € 474 million.

    According to new amendments to the law“On the Media”, since January 2016, foreigners are prohibited from directly or indirectly owning more than 20% of any Russian media. Therefore, now foreign investors can either leave the Russian market or reorganize the business so that it meets the new requirements.

    Wolters Kluwer decided to leave the Russian market. The company agreed to sell its 55% to minority shareholders. As a result of this transaction, Wolters Kluwer will fix a € 18 million one-time loss, caused primarily by the exchange rate difference, the company warned investors.

    The deal to sell 55% of the ICFER was closed on Wednesday, September 16th. Now 100% of ICFER CJSC belongs to the Director General of the merged company Maxim Mezhansky and his deputy, director of the ICFED publishing house Valentin Girikhidi. But now, Aktion is negotiating with the owners of the ICFED to buy them 100% in exchange for a stake in the parent structure of Aktion, says its CEO Alexei Starikov.

    The sole owner of Aktion is now the chairman of the board of directors of the company Igor Cheremisin. He told RBC that the current owners of the ICFER will have a lesser share in the combined company than the control. Both Aktion and ICFER are profitable, assure Starikov and Mezhansky.

    Aktion and the ICFER have about 500 thousand subscribers in total, the source told RBC. With an average subscription cost of 12 thousand rubles a year, their total income can reach 6 billion rubles, he estimates. With such indicators, the combined company claims to be not only the largest player in the b2b segment, but also in the entire publishing market, RBC writes .

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