So the big business acquisition of media company equity continues: The Aditya Birla Group has acquired 27.5% in Living Media India (The India Today group), through its private investment company. The transaction is subject to approvals and the terms of the deal and amount being paid for the 27.5% stake have not been disclosed; neither has the name of the private investment arm that is acquiring the stake.
What The Aditya Birla Group Is Investing In
The India Today Group includes the following businesses:
- Print magazines like India Today, Business Today, Gadgets & Gizmos, Wonder Woman, Money Today, Cosmopolitan (India), Prevention, Harward Business Review, Design Today, Golf Digest India, Readers Digest India, Time, Men’s Health, Fortune among others. Some of these are their own, while others are partnerships with international brands.
- Newspaper: Mail Today, a joint venture with the Daily Mail
- Syndication: The group has a syndication business for photographs called India Today Images
- Television: through TV Today, a listed business, the group has news channels like Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, as well as Delhi Aaj Tak. The promoter group (Living Media India), owns 57.46% in TV Today Ltd, as of March 2012.
- Radio: Oye FM
- Internet: it publishes the websites for many of these businesses and has an e-commerce business Bag It Today, which Axel Springer, a German Media major, picked up 19.1% in.
- Books Publishing: Harper Collins India, a joint venture with Harper Collins.
- Events: which organizes the India Today Conclave, India Today Woman’s Summit, India Today Youth Summit, among others. Note that the Aditya Birla Group has been the key advertiser for the groups marquee India Today Conclave event.
- Music: the Music Today label
- Directories: yellow pages business called Directories Today.
Interestingly enough, the announcement comes a month and a half after TV Today, the only listed company in the India Today Group, denied any knowledge of such discussions, issuing the following statement to the stock exchanges: ‘With reference to the news item appearing in a leading financial daily titled “TV Today scrip soars on buzz of Birla buying into Living Media”, TV Today Network Ltd has clarified to BSE that the Company is not aware of any such transaction and is not in a position to confirm the contents of the media reports.’ This denial was in response to this story from the Indian Express.
Big Business + Big Media
The acquisition of stake is the second recent instance of one of stake in one of India’s largest media houses being bought by one of the countrys largest businesses: in January this year, Reliance Industries acquired an undisclosed stake in Network18, through an investment in a Network18 promoter driven Independent Media Trust.
We’ll update with more information on Living Media Ltd