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Forbes returns to Ukraine. We found out who will become new publisher and how much it costs

AIN.UA has learned from two unrelated sources that Forbes is going to return to Ukraine by the end of 2019. According to AIN.UA, its publisher will be a Slovak company Barecz & Conrad Media. The company already owns other Forbes franchises in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary. Ukraine will become the fifth market for the publisher.

License issue

Boris Lozhkin, the founder of UMH, received the right to publish Forbes Ukraine in 2009, and in March 2011 the first issue was released. Previously, Forbes wrote that Lozhkin planned to purchase the magazine back in 2002, but the real negotiations began only in 2008.

In 2013, Lozhkin sold UMH, which also included the Forbes magazine, to a runaway oligarch Sergey Kurchenko. In the same year, 13 members of the editorial staff resigned, and the chief editor, Vladimir Fedorin, left too. They all said that there were pressure and censorship.

In 2014, Forbes Inc. decided to revoke the license from the local Forbes but faced the resistance of local management. This was the cause of long-term confrontation and litigation. Forbes Ukraine insisted that the license was extended until 2018 and they would not give it back, as there was no censorship in the media outlet. The Americans had their own opinion and they tried banning the use of the brand in Ukraine in every possible way.

As a result, the last issue of Forbes Ukraine saw the light in 2017, with a website working for some time after that (it stopped being updated in the middle of 2017). According to AIN.UA’s own sources, the reason for stopping the work of Forbes Ukraine was the financial problems of the publisher – UMH. Most of the team moved to the new business outlet – Mind.ua

The license of Forbes Ukraine, eventually, ended as it was supposed earlier – in the summer of 2018. A few months before, Americans began looking for new publishers.

Finding a publisher

US representatives of Forbes Inc. were on the lookout for anyone who was ready to take on the new Forbes Ukraine. First of all, it was about people who could financially capable of “pulling off” the operation of the media outlet.

According to AIN.UA, the Americans were negotiating with one of the largest publishing houses in Ukraine, which already produces a number of glossy magazines. Nobody knows why it didn’t work out.

Forbes also offered it to a number of Ukrainian entrepreneurs who are not affiliated with the government. The reason for the refusal was the financial side of the issue: magazine’s upkeep requires a large and expensive team.

According to the most modest estimates of AIN.UA, the financial side was from $30,000 to $50,000 per month only to maintain a team (about $400,000 – $500,000 per year). The price tag for the license, according to AIN.UA, is an additional $100,000. There were no people willing to part with such a sum for the franchise – it was just too expensive.

The foreigners

Another option was to look for a publisher abroad. And the new publisher was found -Barecz & Conrad Media with licenses to publish Forbes in four other countries. According to a source close to the subject matter, having the experience, the company plans to start publishing in Ukraine, taking into account the mistakes of the past.

Barecz & Conrad Media representatives didn’t respond to AIN.UA inquiry.

At the moment, Forbes Ukraine already has an editor-in-chief; it took several months to find one. It is a well-known media manager whose name has not yet been disclosed. Currently, the company is hiring team members. It can take up to six months to prepare for the launch.

***

In the old days, the Forbes team worked on a daily update of their website, the monthly magazine Forbes Ukraine, as well as special issues of Forbes Woman and Forbes Lifestyle. It is still not known what format and shape will the new magazine take.

Prepared and written by Ilya Boshnyakov and Ilya Kabachynskyi.

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