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UPDATE 1-Russian publisher Prosveshcheniye's IPO on hold until market improves

* Prosveshcheniye is Russia’s biggest educational publisher

* Ready for IPO but market is not right -group president

* May offer 25-30 pct stake in London or Moscow

* Sanctions-hit oligarch sells stake in publisher (Adds quotes, details)

By Polina Nikolskaya

MOSCOW, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Russian educational publisher Prosveshcheniye will wait until the market improves before going ahead with an initial public offering that could see it float 25-30 percent of its shares, a company official said on Tuesday.

The company has said previously that it could launch an IPO in 2018-2019 in Moscow or London, but demand for Russian IPOs has been hit by western sanctions imposed on Russia.

“The question is in a (market) environment, we saw deals of Detsky Mir, Rusal. Well, it seems to me that our assets are not yet valued very highly,” Vladimir Uzun, president of the publisher’s parent group, also called Prosveshcheniye, told reporters.

“Unfortunately, geopolitics has become very influential on macroeconomics,” Uzun said.

He said Prosveshcheniye, which means “enlightenment” in English, is currently worth an estimated 72 billion roubles ($1.2 billion) but should increase in value to around $2 billion next year as its business expands.

The company expects to turn a net profit of around 6 billion roubles in 2017, up from 4.4 billion roubles a year ago, Uzun said.

He added that the company would require around $500 million to invest in digital technologies - its future growth area - and the best option would be to raise this amount via share placements rather than debt.

The company could carry out an IPO first and then do a series of secondary share offerings, Uzun said. A final decision has yet to be made.

Uzun also said that Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, who is under U.S. sanctions since 2014, sold his stake in Prosveshcheniye, confirming an earlier report by Russian business newspaper Vedomosti. He did not say to whom.

Vedomosti said in July that Rotenberg, whose group is building a bridge from Russia to the Crimea peninsula annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014, divested his holdings in the company so it could hold the IPO.

Uzun declined to comment on the reasons for Rotenberg divesting his stake but said: “It is obvious that it is difficult to talk about a placement in London, when there is a person under sanctions (among shareholders).”

The company has not decided yet if it would carry out the IPO in London or in Moscow. “Moscow is probably closer. Although London is a more appropriate (place), given that education and technology are becoming more global,” he said.

Prosveshcheniye was state owned until it was sold into private hands in 2012.

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