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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norwegians Look to Sell KP Stake to ESN

Norwegian media group A-pressen is looking to sell its stake in the nation's biggest-selling tabloid newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, to the new majority owner, ESN Group, Kommersant reported Monday.

A-pressen could receive $41 million for its stake of 25 percent plus one share in the publisher of the newspaper, also called Komsomolskaya Pravda, the report said, citing sources close to the Norwegian company.

The deal could be completed within the next two weeks, the report said. A-pressen and ESN did not comment in the report.

A-pressen acquired the stake in 2002 for $10 million, a source close to Komsomolskaya Pravda said, Kommersant reported.

Grigory Beryozkin's ESN Group bought 61 percent in the Komsomolskaya Pravda publishing house from billionaire Vladimir Potanin's Prof-Media holding company for $100 million earlier this year, the report said.

Media experts believe ESN wants to increase its stake in Publishing House Komsomolskaya Pravda to sell it on to another buyer, the report said. That new owner could be a company linked to Bank Rossia, run by President Vladimir Putin's friend Yury Kovalchuk, the report said. Oleg Rudnov, a business partner of Kovalchuk, was recently appointed chairman of the publishing house.

KP has a total readership of 8.4 million people, according to TNS Gallup Media. It is ranked the world's 63rd-biggest newspaper by the World Association of Newspapers and prints 700,000 to 830,000 copies daily and 3.1 million on weekends.

Analysts say the Kremlin is especially eager to bring major media outlets under its control ahead of presidential elections in 2008, when Putin is constitutionally required to step down after two terms in office.