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Business

Dow Jones, Pearson sell stakes in Russia's 'Vedomosti'

Dow Jones and Pearson have announced plans to sell their stakes in Russia's liberal daily newspaper "Vedomosti" by the end of the year. The decision comes in light of a law limiting foreign ownership of Russian media.

Dow Jones and Pearson announced Friday they were planning to sell their shares in Russia's "Vedomosti" daily to local businessman Damian Kudryavtsev.

A third foreign stakeholder, Finnish media company Sanoma, had agreed as early as April to sell its shares, meaning that by the end of this year "Vedomosti" looks set to be put completely under Russian control. Some experts worry this may make it more vulnerable to Kremlin pressure and influence.

"Due to a newly passed law limiting foreign ownership of media organizations in Russia, Dow Jones and Pearson have entered into an agreement to divest their stakes in 'Vedomosti,' the two companies confirmed in a statement.

Legislation passed last year caps foreign media ownership, forcing the daily to bring total foreign stakes to under 20 percent before February 2016.

No policy changes?

"Vedomosti" has made a name for itself as a reliable source for business and industry news, but also for reporting and analysis often critical of Kremlin policies.

The future sole owner of the daily, Damian Kudryavtsev, told the AFP news agency he did not plan any major editorial changes in the foreseeable future.

The daily's editor-in-chief, Tatyana Lysova, said she was sad about the departure of the foreign stakeholders. But she made a point of stressing she did not share the view of experts claiming that editorial policies would be affected.

She told the Interfax news agency that "the change in ownership would in no way impact the staff's editorial work as only the editor in chief has the power to change it."

Kudryavtsev said Lysova would keep her post. In addition, he offered her a seat on the board which he immediately accepted.

hg/cjc (AFP, IFAX)