Media company NDTV (NDTV) has has entered to an agreement to sell most of its indirect stake in NDTV Imagine Ltd for $117 million to Turner Asia Pacific Ventures (TAPV), a part of the Time Warner group. NDTV currently holds stake in NDTV Imagine Ltd, which runs the TV channel of the same name, apart from NDTV Lumiere, through its subsidiary NDTV Networks plc. In February this year, Exchange4Media had reported that Turner was in talks with NDTV for investment in the entertainment businesses.
This means that NDTV has divested majority stake in two of its entertainment businesses: last month, Scripps Networks acquired 69 percent in NDTV Lifestyle Ltd. Remember that these deals have been finalized after NDTV bought back 26 percent stake in NDTV Networks from NBC Universal.
In India, 100 percent foreign direct investment is allowed in entertainment media businesses, but investment in news businesses is restricted to 26 percent. At total of 76 percent stake in NDTV Imagine will be sold for $67 million, and Turner will subscribe to a fresh issue of shares for $50 million. Prior to the issuance of primary shares to Turner, NDTV Networks will retain a stake of 5% in Imagine.
In its filing with the BSE, NDTV has said that the transaction is subject to approval from the Time Warner board, and from regulators.
Turner In India
Turner International has a 50:50 JV with the Alva Brothers in India for Real Global Broadcasting which operates the channel Real, which hasn’t done well, with low ratings. Recently, Real Networks CEO Sunil Lulla quit to return to the Times of India group. Turner also broadcasts CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, Pogo, and has a distribution tie-up with ZEEL for Zee Turner in India.
NDTVs Financial Situation
NDTV reported losses over the last few quarters, though losses reduced by 9.13% YoY at Rs. 118.5 million for the quarter ending September 30th 2009. Standalone income from operations fell 6.17% YoY to Rs. 693.5 million. For the last fiscal (2008-09), NDTV reported a consolidated net profit of Rs. 1.198 billion facilitated largely by the “stake sale” in NDTV Networks Plc in 2008 to NBC Universal, which it recently bought back.