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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gusinsky to Keep Charge of Segodnya Newspaper

Vladimir Gusinsky may be close to losing NTV television, but he can count on retaining control of the oldest venture in his media empire: the Segodnya newspaper.

The Sem Dnei publishers of the money-losing newspaper announced Monday that they would transfer 80 percent of Segodnya's stakes to the paper's staff. The shares will be disbursed evenly and free of charge.

The remaining 20 percent of shares already belongs to a team of journalists that founded Segodnya.

Sem Dnei president Dmitry Biryukov said he plans to launch several new projects with the money saved from Segodnya, which he said took a loss of $3 million last year.

"$3 million is a rather substantial sum for investments, and we understand that we cannot compete with Kommersant and Vedomosti at the moment," Biryukov said in a telephone interview Monday.

Gusinsky's Media-MOST will continue financing the paper after it is dropped by Sem Dnei, Media-MOST spokesman Dmitry Ostalsky said.

Click here to read our special report on the Struggle for Media-MOST.Sem Dnei is controlled by Biryukov and state-controlled gas giant Gazprom, which is also the main creditor of Media-MOST. Together they hold a 50 percent plus one share stake in the publishing house. Gusinsky and companies connected to him hold the remaining shares.

Biryukov announced last month that Sem Dnei would dump Segodnya by May 1. The publisher also puts out the popular television guide Sem Dnei, the glossy magazine Karavan Istorii and the Itogi weekly magazine.

After the transfer of shares to Segodnya staffers is finalized, the new shareholders will be able to elect a new general director and editor and attract investors, Biryukov said.

Segodnya editor Mikhail Berger told Ekho Moskvy radio he expects few changes to occur within the newspaper. Publication will be halted for a short time while the newspaper moves into new offices.

"Nothing generally will change. The paper will continue to come out, but under a different publisher," Berger said, adding that Gusinsky is "most likely" to be the new publisher.

However, Segodnya columnist Leonid Radzikhovsky said he doubted Segodnya would survive a change of publishers. "I don't know whether he [Gusinsky] will have any interest in publishing a newspaper, especially now that it's clear he will lose control over NTV," Radzikhovsky said.

Gusinsky, whose debt-laden NTV is under a takeover by Gazprom, is working out a deal with CNN founder Ted Turner to hand over his rights to CNN.