Sources: American sells leading Ukrainian media group

Print version
April 1, 2011, 12:10 p.m. |
American Jed Sunden has reached a deal to sell his majority stake in KP Media, a leading Ukrainian media organization that publishes Korrespondent magazine and, according to informed sources. All requested anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the sale.

It remains unclear who will become KPMedia's new owner, but one informed source claims a businessman who ranks as one of Ukraine’s richest individuals is likely involved. The new owners would likely have to come forward soon to ensure Korrespondent’s reputation as an independent news source.

Sunden, who has been entertaining offers to sell his company for years, was not immediately available for comment about whether an agreement had been reached. But several sources close to the company confirmed that an agreement had been reached to sell the company.

Everyone reached by the Kyiv Post said they did not know the new owner’s identity.

Sunden first came to Ukraine in the early 1990s to study Russian and went on to launch the Kyiv Post, the nation’s first English-language newspaper, in 1995. From that launching pad, Sunden was able to build up a media company that included some of the nation’s most popular news sources.

Sunden went heavily into the Internet news business in the early 2000s, starting and He later launched Korrespondent magazine in and free publications such as 15 Minutes.

But Sunden and other media owners got hit hard by the 2008 global economic crisis, which saw advertising plummet. Consequently, Sunden in 2009 sold the Kyiv Post to the ISTIL Group, the holding company of Mohammad Zahoor, a British national who was born in Pakistan. Under Zahoor’s ownership, the Kyiv Post has expanded, launching in July, featuring news in Ukrainian and Russian languages, not only in English.

After the crisis, Sunden also sold or closed a number of other publications, including 15 Minutes, Pink magazine, Pani and Novynar.

If it is confirmed that Sunden sold KP Media, the transaction would mark his exit from Ukraine’s media business.

A minority stake in the company is owned by portfolio investors.

Vitaliy Gorduz, new executive director of KP Media, referred calls to Sunden.

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