The Art Newspaper Sold to Russian Collector

(photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

The Art Newspaper has been acquired by a Russian art collector and entrepreneur, according to a release from the publication this morning. The sale “boosts the financial backing of the paper and allows it to build a greater internet presence,” by the 24-year-old paper’s own account. The deal was announced at London’s Tate gallery, where Tate director Nicholas Serrota introduced the new owner, Inna Bazhenova.

Bazhenova, who per the New York Times is “a mathematician who works for gas exploration companies,” has owned the license to publish the paper in Russia since 2012. The Art Newspaper‘s founding publisher, Umberto Allemande, noted that he chose Bazhenova “because she and her husband Dmitry are young, they are rich, they are honest and have convinced me that they share my ideals.”

For her own part, Bazhenova said that “The Art Newspaper will retain complete editorial independence, now and for as long as I own it.”

The terms of the sale are not public, though this did not prevent artnet News from unsourced speculation about the “reportedly … shaky financial position” at the “foundering” publication in an article headlined “Obscure Russians Buy The Art Newspaper.”

In a year that saw several ownership shakeups in the corporate art world, these kinds of industry reports containing unsourced claims about competitors have become par for the course at artnet News, which has deployed its editorial platform to take down — without acknowledgment of a conflict — competitors in the online auction space. Another story, about the sale of ARTnews magazine earlier this year, incorrectly reported that the publication was sold for $2 million. In fact, the acquirer, Abbey House Group SA of Poland, received a 51% stake in ARTnews for 2,194,500 Euros (~$2.8 million), according to a publicly available document.

Mostafa Heddaya is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic.