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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky Denies He is Negotiating to Sell TV6

Boris Berezovksy on Tuesday denied a report that he is in negotiations to sell his 75 percent in TV6 television to a U.S.-backed investment fund for at least $140 million.

"There is no sale going on because there is no seller here," Berezovsky said in a telephone interview from London. "I have said many times that TV6 is not business but politics for me."

The Financial Times reported Monday that Berezovsky may sell his TV6 shares to the fund, TPG Aurora, for $140 million. The report, which did not attribute the amount to a source, said the price could reach $200 million if the station manages to show a better financial performance.

Berezovsky confirmed that he met with TPG Aurora head Boris Karlov in early December but denied that he has been holding talks with the fund.

"I am not considering any proposals, and no talks are under way -- not because I am being offered too little money but because TV6 is not a business for me."

The reason, he said, is because TV6 is the last of the four leading channels whose editorial policy is not controlled by the Kremlin. The other channels are ORT, RTR and NTV.

TPG Aurora officials were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Berezovsky's remarks came about a week after TV6 won a crucial court decision staving off its bankruptcy and just days before a panel of judges was to once again consider the lawsuit lodged by a TV6 shareholder, the LUKoil-Garant pension fund.

The Moscow federal arbitration court sent the case back to a lower court for review Dec. 29. TV6 had lost two previous rulings to LUKoil-Garant, which is seeking liquidation of the channel on the basis of a little-used article of the Civil Code.

But a judge in a higher court, Eduard Renov, deputy head of the Supreme Arbitration Court, is protesting the ruling.

Renov's objection will be considered by the Supreme Arbitration Court on Friday, Interfax reported Tuesday. If the court rules against TV6, then the station will appeal to both the Moscow arbitration court and the Constitutional Court, TV6 spokeswoman Tatyana Blinova said Tuesday.

Berezovsky refused to comment on reports in the Russian media that Press Minister Mikhail Lesin stands behind a deal with TPG Aurora.

Roman Petrenko, general director of CTC television, a close rival of TV6, said in a recent interview that he estimates TV6 ended 2001 with a loss of $30 million to $35 million. He said TV6 had spent 2 1/2 times more on programming than the previous year.

Berezovsky said TV6 made more money than it spent last year.

Asked about an offer he made last month to give his shares as a gift to TV6 journalists, Berezovsky said he has not yet heard back from the reporters.