Update: Debashis Basu says, in MoneyLife that the restructuring won’t mend cracks in Network18’s business model, saying that the “restructuring exercise of the group currently amounts to aimless shuffling of pieces on a chessboard.”
Earlier today: A capital restructuring approved yesterday by the board of the Network18 group will see a consolidation of ownership of its mature TV businesses under one entity, New TV18 (IBN18), and most of the other “emerging” businesses under Network18. Haresh Chawla, Group CEO of the Network18 group told MediaNama that the groups investments in the Internet business Web18 will also be merged with Network 18. Infomedia18’s Local search, Yellow Pages & magazines, and TV18’s venture capital investment vehicle Capital18 will also be de-merged to Network18.
The overall restructuring offers, in particular, a more holistic picture of how the entity’s TV businesses are performing: the new TV18 (previously IBN18) owns CNBC-TV18, CNN-IBN, IBN7, CNBC-Awaaz and the group’s 50% stake in Colors, MTV, Nick, VH1 and IBN Lokmat; thus combining Business, General News and General Entertainment under one head. All future TV channel launches will be done by this entity.
The changes in structure will be effective from April 1, 2010, which means that the broad level financials we get for Q1-11 will probably not be comparable with the previous years, though we hope results for Web19 will also be released. The restructuring entails the following broad steps:
– TV18 will consolidate its TV businesses into IBN18 (New TV18)
– Residual TV18 businesses (Web18, Newswire18, Forbes India) with all investments (DEN, Yatra and Capital18 portfolio) will be merged with Network18
– The Yellow Pages and Magazine publishing businesses of Infomedia18 will be merged into Network18 while the printing press operations will continue to remain in the company
Shareholders with 100 Shares of TV18 Will get 68 Shares of IBN18 (New TV18) and 13 Shares of Network18, as consideration for the transfer of business news channels, while shareholders with 100 Shares of Infomedia18 will retain 100 Shares of Infomedia18 and get 14 Shares of Network18, as consideration for the transfer of the Local Search, Yellow Pages and Publishing businesses.
These steps are expected to take 7-9 months, and the restructuring is subject to approvals of the shareholders, stock exchanges, High Court, among others. The group currently has five listed entities, the plan is to eventually bring that down to two. Earlier this week, the board of group company Viacom18 announced a voluntary offer to buy back shares of the AIM listed The Indian Film Company from shareholders. Once bought back, Network18 will sell its stake in The Indian Film Company to Viacom18, its joint venture with Viacom.
The new Network18 will hold a controlling interest in the new TV18. It will also be the operating company for the group’s digital, publishing, sports and event management businesses, and with investments in HomeShop18, Newswire18, DEN, Yatra and Capital18. Additionally, once Infomedia18’s publishing businesses are transferred to Network18, it will look to sell the printing press business that remains with Infomedia18.