Showing posts with label Alexander Lebedev. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alexander Lebedev. Show all posts

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Russian Invasion

With a report that Russian oligarch David Traktovenko (left) has slipped into town for Summer, the Shuttle hears a former KGB spy has his eyes set on Australia.

Alexander Lebedev worth a reputed $3B owns Russia's largest bank, a third of Aeroflot, and the UK Independent and Evening Standard newspapers. The Shuttle reported last year that Lebedev and his son Evygeny who runs the families UK interests had cast their the attention on Australia's media.
Evygeny &Alexander Lebedev 
That was put on hold when the Huffington Post re-launched it's new UK & USA on-line newspapers which have become a roaring success, and mooted plans for a Southern hemisphere edition based in Australia. The Aussie version didn't eventuate.

Apparently Lebedev has re-newed his interest and a representative has been in town for 2 weeks based at the Park Hyatt Hotel, holding meetings with a number of people including several well known media figures and meeting with local banks.

Could this be a lifeline for workers of the ailing Fairfax empire that appears to be stumbling badly ?. Last week it's reported Fairfax laid off 29 employees in Melbourne including 18 photographers. News Ltd is also planning large redundancies.
Lebedev subsidies his UK newspaper businesses which don't make a profit but he enjoys the power that comes with being a media mogul while son Evgeny is a fixture on the London social circuit.

On-line newspapers will be the future of publishing.  The Global Mail with it's unique reading format is going from strength to strength and attracting quality writers while crikey has just re-launched it's new website. A recent competitor Independent Australia is quickly gaining a reputation for breaking stories. It's been way ahead of both News & Fairfax in the HSU scandal and been publishing exclusive stories, even trumping both with a scoop about the imminent arrest of the former HSU boss Michael Williamson . The 2 major Australian publishers have lagged in coming to grips with digital and they could now have a well heeled competitor with solid media links on the other side of the world.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bill's Star Keeps Rising

Next month Bill Granger's new London restaurant opens in trendy Notting Hill Gate to join the 6 other establishments he owns-3 in Sydney and 3 in Japan.

The Brits  have taken Granger to their hearts. His Bill's Food TV cooking show received a healthy audience on the BBC and was shown in 22 countries although he his still finds time to clock on to Richard Glover's ABC 702 afternoon radio show every fortnight.

Now Bill's cookbook Bill's Everyday Asian has been included in The Independent newspaper's Top 50 Cookbooks along with  foodie heavyweights like Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and Michel Roux and the legendary Elizabeth David and Delia Smith.

The Shuttle has breakfast 2 or 3 times a week at Bills in Surry Hills and this morning we heard an interesting piece of news from a very reliable source.

Both the Independent and the Evening Standard newspapers in  the UK are owned by the Russian 'oligarch' Alexander Lebedev, an entrepreneur who was once pretty high up in the KGB, a spy for the USSR in London and who is financing the political comeback of Michael Gorbochev.

A year ago Lebedev launched the lightweight daily I Newspaper that appeals to commuters and sells for around 22cents. It's a better version of the Murdoch freebie Mx that is handed out at Sydney and Melbourne rail stations.

Alexander Lebedev
Our source says Lebedev has had a small team working the Sydney and Melbourne markets to calculate if they could handle an Oz version of I Newspaper. Which would surely be a welcome addition to either city dominated as they are by Fairfax Newspapers and News Ltd.

There is a story doing the rounds that an angry James Murdoch summonsed Lebedev's son Evgeny who runs the UK newspapers, to the Wapping compound with a demand The Independent lay off reporting on the hacking scandal when it was in it's infancy.

An annoyed Murdoch received no joy from Evengy and a spokesman is reputed to have said later- "Alexander Lebedev faced some formidable opponents in the KGB-the Murdoch's don't frighten him."

Here's a reminder of how Alexander Lebedev deals with those who annoy him :

Come On Down Alex !..Australia needs you.

Tony & Margaret
# Sadly the Australian matriarch of cooking, Margaret Fulton was not included in The Independent's 50 Best Cookbooks but we feel sure it was oversight.

Kate Gibbs with chefs Tetsuya & Lucio
When her Margaret Fulton Cookbook was launched in 1968 it sold an unprecedented one and half million copies and her 12 books since have sold more cookbooks than any other chef on the planet. Not that the diminutive 87 year old Scot is deterred.

Last week she was out on the town launching Tony Bilson's new book and she has a new website that will be up and running shortly and she has an Iphone app. In fact the entire Fulton family are at it with daughter Suzanne Gibbs a respected food writer and Margaret's 2 grand-daughters taking up the mantle.

Lousie Fulton Gibbs has just launched a children's cookbook- My Grandma's Kitchen while Kate Gibbs is a contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide.