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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chubais to Sell His Stock in TVS

UES chief Anatoly Chubais announced Thursday that he is leaving the pool of TVS shareholders, which the national television channel's spokeswoman said may finally bring stability to "the long-suffering channel and its staff."

Chubais told Interfax that he will sell his stock in TVS's parent company Shestoi Telekanal to his ally Igor Linshits, chief of Neftyanoi Bank, and Oleg Kiselyov, director general of Media-Sotsium, which holds the channel's broadcasting license.

Chubais and his allies control 45 percent of Shestoi Telekanal's shares. It was not clear Thursday what percentage Chubais was selling.

Chubais cited differences among TVS shareholders as the reason behind his decision to cash out. "Unfortunately, we have failed to overcome the differences," he said.

Chubais' group has repeatedly locked horns with aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska and his allies -- who also control a 45 percent stake in Shestoi Telekanal -- over TVS, which has been harshly critical of the Kremlin and Moscow city government. The remaining 10 percent are held by a team of TVS journalists headed by editor Yevgeny Kiselyov.

Chubais said the infighting has led to "extremely grave difficulties" at TVS. The channel has been plagued by poor management and cash shortages.

Deripaska made an offer to Chubais last month either to buy his Shestoi Telekanal shares or sell his own, to leave just one group of shareholders in charge of the channel.

TVS spokeswoman Tatyana Blinova said Thursday that it remains unclear whether the sale of shares would stabilize the situation since both Oleg Kiselyov and Linshits have been allied with Chubais.

"Still we hope that there finally will be stability at our long-suffering channel," Blinova said by telephone.

In particular, she said, TVS hopes the shareholders will now tackle the channel's financial problems, including wage arrears, and resolve a dispute with Mostelecom.

The city-owned cable television operator has already blocked TVS from 1 million of its 3 million subscribers in Moscow and plans to complete the switch-off by the end of this week. Mostelecom claims it is owed $8 million in service fees.

Oleg Kiselyov could not be reached by telephone late Thursday, and Deripaska's spokesman Alexei Drobashenko refused to comment.