The consortium bid led by Ted Turner to buy into Russian broadcaster NTV looks wobbly after journalists and staff left the station en masse this week. The exodus was prompted by the forceful takeover of the station by its new Gazprom-appointed managers last weekend.
NTV journalists, who had been refusing to co-operate with the new general director Boris Jordan, are producing their own programmes and news service from THT another Moscow station still controlled by Vladimir Guzinsky's Media Most Group. More than 200 employees are believed to have walked out.
Jordan took over control of the station in the early hours of Easter Sunday by when he replaced the station's security guards with a team of his own employees and then entering the building with his management team.
Defiant NTV journalists who tried to inform the public of the takeover had the plug pulled on the Sunday morning news broadcast when viewers' screens went black. Turner who has offered to buy 30% of NTV has said the deal will only go ahead if he can strike a deal with both Guzinsky and the new managers Gazprom. But without most of the channel's high profile programmes and presenters NTV is not the same station that Turner offered to buy into and media analysts say the deal may be off.
A spokesperson for Turner called the struggle between journalists and management for the control of the channel that has developed over the past few days "disappointing" and said they were evaluating the situation. Alfred Kokh head of Gazprom Media which now controls the channel said that he was in no hurry to sign a deal with Turner.