One of Switzerland's leading publishing groups, Edipresse, has taken a majority stake in the Russian magazine publisher, Kone-Liga Press.
The Lausanne-based group has signed a letter of intent to acquire a 52 per cent in the company for an undisclosed sum.
The deal is expected to be completed within one month.
Kone-Liga, created in 1993, employs a staff of just over 100 and publishes about 20 titles, most of which are monthlies.
It is the Russian market leader in the needlework, knitting and sewing segment and in the business-to-business fashion segment. It also has a strong presence in the gardening area and has recently launched an upmarket men's title and a high-end interior design magazine.
"We see Russia as one of the most promising magazine markets in the world," Edipresse's chief financial officer Christopher Bolton told swissinfo.
"Since the crisis in 1998, the country has recovered very strongly. GDP growth currently is in the region of five per cent, advertising is expanding very fast, as is the magazine market, so we see tremendous potential in Russia."
"We intend to expand the existing business and to use Kone-Liga as a platform to develop a significant long-term presence in the Russian market," he added.
The current managing shareholders, Alexander Kolosov (President) and his wife Raisa Neyaglova-Kolosova (CEO), will retain a 48 per cent interest in the company and will continue to run operations in partnership with the Swiss group.
Edipresse, which is the leading publisher of daily newspapers in French-speaking Switzerland with such titles as "24 Heures", "Le Matin" and "Tribune de Genève", has been expanding abroad for more than a decade.
"The Swiss market is saturated and over the last ten years Edipresse's strategy has been to expand outside Switzerland, moving primarily into secondary and emerging markets," Bolton explained.
"We began around 12 years ago with Spain, which at that time was still a developing market, and since then, we've expanded into other markets such as Portugal, Greece, Romania and Poland," he added.
swissinfo, Robert Brookes
Edipresse publishes three major daily newspapers in the French-speaking part Switzerland - "24 Heures", "Le Matin" and "Tribune de Genève".
It also has a 47 per cent stake in "Le Temps".
It publishes more than 90 titles and has more than 3,000 employees, of whom about 1,800 are in Switzerland.
In 2002, the Edipresse group made a net profit of SFr13.6 million ($10.21 million) on a turnover of SFr706 million.
Edipresse has taken a 52 per cent stake in Kone-Liga Press to enter the Russian market.
The Lausanne-based group sees Russia as one of the most promising magazine markets in the world.
It believes Kone-Liga is an "excellent" platform to build a significant presence in the Russian market.
In compliance with the JTI standards