Russian billionaire buys German tour firm: report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev has moved into the European tourism industry by buying control of Germany’s sixth largest tour operator Oeger Tours GmbH, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported on Monday.

The paper said a firm owned by Lebedev’s holding company had bought 76 percent of Oeger with the option to buy the remaining shares in the company over the next two years.

The price of the deal was not published but Lebedev was quoted by the newspaper as saying it amounted to tens of millions of euros. Lebedev said it was part of a strategy to boost investment in tourism and passenger aviation.

Vedomosti said Oeger was ranked as Germany’s 6th largest tour operator in 2007 with 1.25 million passengers a year.

Lebedev's investment follows a similar purchase by another Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov, who bought a stake of over 10 percent in German tourism and shipping firm TUI TUIGn.DE.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by David Cowell