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Mint Capital international investment fund has acquired 20% of shares of the Russian publishing house Gameland.

WPS: Banking and Stock Exchange
12th march 2004

Reference: E. Vorontsov «Mint Capital Will Play Publishing Business,» Kommersant, March 11, 2004, p.17.

Gameland publishing house issues magazines: Strana Igr (Country of Games), Strana Igr — Putevoditel«(Country of Games — Guidebook), Computer Gaming World, PC Igry (PC Games), Hacker, Hacker Spets (Hacker Professional), Hacker Zhelezo, Mobilnye Komputery (Mobile Computers), Huligan (Hooligan), Total DVD, and Svoy Biznes (Own Business). According to the company’s evaluations, in 2003, its turnover amounted to $7 million. A 20% stake in the publishing house was sold to Mint Capital for $2 million. «Capital will be spent on purchasing sports and musical magazines, launching from scratch editions about games, equipment, and cinema, as well as opening offices in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Israel,» said M.r Agarunov, CEO of Gameland. «We considered a few companies as our potential partners,» said Mr. Ekman, one of top managers at Mint Capital. «The fact that Gameland’s editions are meant for young people contributed to that. Currently, advertisers pay less attention to young people than the latter deservee, but the situation will change and soon growth pace of this segment will be higher than growth pace of the advertising market in general.»

Experts say that Mint Capital buying Gameland’s shares is the first example of investments into the Russian publishing business on the part of the financial investor. In the past, shares of Russian publishing houses were only bought by other media structures. For example, last year, Prof-media publishing house bought a 35% stake in Independent Media publishing house, Swiss publishing group Edipresse bought a controlling stake in the Russian Kon-Liga Press publishing house. Analysts are certain that this transaction marks beginning of boisterous investment process in the Russian publishing market. «The industry is consolidating fast and strong publishing houses will try to take all separate publishing project, which are less effective,» Mr. Bystranov, specialist at Altium Capital, is certain. «I am now participating in preparing another similar, but larger, investment transaction in the publishing market.» During the last year, a few large Western funds were looking for a partner for investments to the sum of million of dollars, but the publishing market proved not ready, to a large extent, because of low transparency of companies. Currently, first steps have been make and I am certain that 2004 will be the year of investment activity for publishers,» says Mr. Isakov, head of Mediamark agency.

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