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Sauer Says Onexim Isn't Bidding For Vedomosti

Derk Sauer, chairman of Sanoma Independent Media's supervisory board and president of Onexim media division RBC, denied a newspaper report Tuesday that Onexim was seeking a stake in Vedomosti.

Kommersant reported that Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim Group had made an offer to Sanoma Independent Media, or SIM, to swap its interior-design magazines for a stake in the business newspaper.

RBC "made no proposals," Sauer told The Moscow Times, which is published by SIM. "There are no discussions or negotiations ongoing [for] Vedomosti."

Citing unidentified sources, Kommersant said that under the suggested deal, RBC would swap its Salon Press, publisher of magazines Salon Interior and Ideyi Vashego Doma, for SIM's stake in Business News Media, the company that publishes Vedomosti.

Business News Media is co-owned equally by SIM, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Pearson, the publisher of the Financial Times.

Sauer confirmed Kommersant's information that RBC was looking to sell the Salon Press unit.

"RBC did invite SIM to take part in a bidding process currently ongoing to sell Salon Magazine, but … SIM is not participating in this process," Sauer said.

RBC general director Sergei Lavrukhin was cited by Kommersant as saying that two parties were interested in buying Salon Press and that SIM wasn't one of them.

In November, Sauer was appointed president of RBC, while former SIM chief executive Elena Myasnikova became a vice president of the group. As expected, they formally joined RBC's board of directors Monday.

Those hires followed a public tussle this fall between the longtime SIM executives and its Finnish parent company, Sanoma.

The Netherlands-born Sauer founded Independent Media in 1992 and sold the company to Finland's Sanoma media group in 2005. Myasnikova succeeded him as SIM's CEO in 2007.

Myasnikova resigned from SIM in September. At the time, Sauer said the Finnish company's shareholders had been "chipping away at the authority of local management" for more than a year.

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