CTC Media to launch channel in North America

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2009 3:18 PM

Russian media company CTC Media Inc. said Monday it started broadcasting in North America, putting a 24-hour family entertainment channel on the air through a deal with DISH Network Corp.

The Moscow company said it will produce 80 percent of the content for the Russian language channel. The rest of the content will come from two other Russian networks, Domashny and DTV. CTC said it plans to expand into other U.S. platforms and Europe as well.

In afternoon trading, CTC shares picked up $1.01, or 8 percent, to $13.59.

Separately, the company also settled lawsuits with its former President and CEO Alexander Rodnyansky. CTC said Rodnyansky will forfeit some of his stock rights and options from 2003 and 2006, and resigned from the company's board of directors. CTC will issue 2.1 million shares and pay Rodnyansky $25.9 million in cash. The settlement would resolve all lawsuits between Rodnyansky and the company.

In the settlement, Rodnyansky is forfeiting a third of the stock appreciation rights granted to him in 2003, and one-third of the vested stock options granted to him in 2006. CTC had filed a complaint against Rodnyansky in November, saying he violated the terms of his contract and his fiduciary duty to the company.

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CT said the settlement and share issuance should be complete by the end of 2009. Rodnyansky retains options to buy 1.8 million shares at a price of $16.95 per share by June 18, 2010, but no further share options will vest, the company said.

The suits, which were filed in New York and Delaware, will be dismissed with prejudice. Neither Rodnyansky nor CTC acknowledged any wrongdoing.