It’s official: Reliance now controls news broadcaster Network18

RIL executives refused to comment on the new management that will take over NW18 and TV18.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Archna Shukla | New Delhi | Updated: May 30, 2014 9:16 am
This suite includes In.com, IBNLive.com, Moneycontrol.com, Firstpost.com, Cricketnext.in, Homeshop18.com, Bookmyshow.com This suite includes In.com, IBNLive.com, Moneycontrol.com, Firstpost.com, Cricketnext.in, Homeshop18.com, Bookmyshow.com

India’s largest private sector company Reliance Industries Ltd today announced its acquisition of the country’s largest news broadcaster Network18 Group that through its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast Ltd operates a set of channels including CNN-IBN, IBN7, CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz. The group also operates ETV News Network that runs close to a dozen news channels in many regional languages.

Sources said Network18 promoter Raghav Bahl and his wife Ritu Kapur resigned from the company following a spate of resignations through this week including that of Group CEO B Sai Kumar, CFO RDS Bawa and COO Ajay Chacko.

In January 2012, RIL had extended an undisclosed amount of loan to Network18 Group in the form of optionally convertible debentures. The debt was routed through a newly floated entity, Independent Media Trust (IMT). The deal was shrouded in opacity and questions such as the tenure of the debt, the nature of the OCDs and if they were converted into equity, how much stake would IMT end up owning in the broadcast network remained unanswered. The only detail given out then was that Network18 Media and Investment Ltd (NW18) and its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast Ltd would raise Rs 4000 crore through rights issues.

In its announcement today, RIL answered some of these questions.

Its statement said that RIL will extend funds of up to Rs 4000 crore to IMT “for acquisition of control in NW18 including its subsidiary TV18.” It said IMT, of which RIL is the sole beneficiary, will use the funds to acquire control over NW18 and TV18 resulting in ownership of about 78% in NW18 and 9% in TV18.

reliance

Subsequently, IMT will make an open offer to public shareholders for acquisition of equity shares of the two companies and another subsidiary Infomedia Press Ltd.

RIL is the country’s largest private sector company with revenues in excess of Rs 4 lakh crore and cash profit of around Rs 31000 crore. The Network18 Group is a media and entertainment behemoth with interests in broadcasting, films, digital media, e-commerce, publishing, mobile content and allied businesses.

TV18 Broadcast also operates a joint venture with one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies US-based Viacom called Viacom 18 which houses several entertainment channels such as Colors, Comedy Central, MTV, Nick, Nick Jr and Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

It had a bunch of digital properties such as moneycontrol.com, firstpost.com and bookmyshow.com. The group also published the Indian edition of Forbes through a licensing arrangement. In the financial year ended 2013, NW18 had posted a net loss of Rs 151 crore on a turnover of Rs 2400 crore. TV18 had recorded a profit of Rs 85 crore on a turnover of Rs 1900 crore.

Bahl’s exit came after a spate of job cuts in the group in the past one year. The group “let go” around 400 of its staffers earlier this year and a year ago, the founding team of its magazine Forbes India had quit amidst protests alleging forced change in their employment contracts. It is not clear if Bahl will continue to hold any stake in the group post its acquisition by IMT. Bahl did not respond to phone calls and an email sent by The Indian Express.

RIL executives refused to comment on the new management that will take over NW18 and TV18. A slew of media professionals joined the company in the past three months including former Zee News CEO Alok Agarwal.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

First Published on: May 29, 2014 8:09 pm
  1. I
    Indian@rrrr
    May 30, 2014 at 5:20 am
    Haha rajdeep ki to band bajegi ab. also what would happen to our dear "Internet Hindu" Sagarika ghose.
    Reply
    1. R
      rsvip
      May 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm
      That is the Modi power....only intellectuals will understand it.
      Reply
      1. A
        Abhijit Bhattacharya
        May 30, 2014 at 11:22 am
        Now it will be all the way pro-Ambani, pro-Adani and pro-Modi
        Reply
        1. T
          TrueIndian
          May 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm
          ache din ane wale hain?
          Reply
          1. L
            luuke
            May 30, 2014 at 11:08 am
            This is not good....You control the media , you control the agenda , change the narrative and crush the compeion....and you have total control of peoples minds....
            Reply
            1. R
              RAJ
              May 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm
              Good to know this deal as there is no hidden now... wont blame on news quality and content
              Reply
              1. G
                Girish
                May 30, 2014 at 7:08 am
                clearly the group had put its hand in too many pies.with reliance ownership, there will be much needed consolidation and cleaning up of negative growth verticals.
                Reply
                1. J
                  Jayanarayan Kongasseri
                  May 30, 2014 at 2:50 am
                  This acquisation by Reliance does not augur well for the freedom of press. Relaince group of companies are not known for ethical business since its inception. There should be a movement against such acquisations.
                  Reply
                  1. J
                    Just Curious
                    May 29, 2014 at 11:57 pm
                    Does it mean that the chief chamcha and his deputy, the little chamchi, will be fired? I hope so!
                    Reply
                    1. K
                      Kabir
                      May 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm
                      why don't india has any anti trust law? Why the govt allowing few groups to own everything? Should we expect soon even the government to be officially privatised?
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        malti
                        May 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm
                        Good. Now finally the anti- modi propaa in Cnn Ibn will stop.
                        Reply
                        1. M
                          malti
                          May 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm
                          Rajdeep should go back crawling to NDTV
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Raghvendra Palli
                            May 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm
                            Dear Ambanijee,Humble request that you please clear the DEAD WOOD from this NETWORK. It is full of anti-National elements.
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Raghvendra Palli
                              May 30, 2014 at 2:03 am
                              Ambanijee,Please get rid of Rajdeep, Bhupinder and Sogarika as well. TRP will improve a lot.
                              Reply
                              1. s
                                saksharma666@gmail
                                May 29, 2014 at 6:44 pm
                                ambani wavenot modi wave
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  sanjay
                                  Jun 2, 2014 at 4:58 am
                                  Rightly said.But unfortunately we have many supporters of unethical business under the disguise of so called growth and employment.
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    satsangi
                                    May 29, 2014 at 9:13 pm
                                    In the age of Paid news to an extent this is the advent of 100% scripted news to please a few and hope our Prime Minister & PMO follow the advise & or diktat of Mr. Modi to keep safe distance from any relatives and or relations while in Ministry ...
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      vinayak
                                      May 30, 2014 at 3:20 am
                                      Now we know - Rajdeep?
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        aam admi
                                        May 30, 2014 at 9:07 am
                                        The lawmakers seldom care about country.
                                        Reply
                                        1. V
                                          vikas
                                          May 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm
                                          Now it will be Ambani Vani.
                                          Reply
                                          1. Load More Comments