The business tycoon and co-owner of Tbilisi-based Imedi media holding, Badri Patarkatsishvili, rejected on September 10 suggestions that he had taken control of the Georgian Railways in exchange for his media holding.
Last month the Georgian government said it was handing over management rights for 99 years to Parkfield Investment Ltd. – a company set up just for this particular investment project by a group of individual investors, whose identities are still unknown.
The lack of information about the company has fuelled speculation that Badri Patarkatsishvili was probably behind it. Patarkatsishvili, so the rumours go, had made a deal with the government and agreed to give up his shares in Imedi media holding, involving a TV and radio station, in exchange for the management rights to the country’s railway infrastructure. Imedi is also co-owned by News Corporation.
“There is no asset in Georgia worth being swapped for Imedi,” Patarkatsishvili told reporters in Tbilisi. “Imedi is not something that will be traded off for something else.”
He said that he currently planned to create an even larger, as he put it, “regional telecommunications holding”, which would unite Imedi and his recently purchased businesses.
Patarkatsishvili’s Salford Georgia and a partner, Compound Capital Ltd., purchased the U.S.-based Metromedia International Group Inc., including its businesses in Georgia, for USD 154.5 million in August.
Metromedia International Group Inc. has a 34.5% share in MagtiCom, a mobile operator; 85% in Ayety LLC (“Ayety”), a cable television provider in Tbilisi; and 30% in Telecom Georgia, a long-distance transit operator.