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Govt Approvals For Tikona, Spectator, VenturEast, BGC SmartCard, Eros; PowerMax, ZEEL, Unitech Deferred

Foreign investment continues to flood Broadcasting, Information & Technology, Telecom and Media sectors and the government has approved six proposals and deferred three more as suggested by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

logo_gjEuropean publisher of specialty magazines, periodicals and journals, Gruner + Jahr International Magazines, has received approval to enter the country. It will invest Rs. 0.01 crores in setting up a wholly owned subsidiary here.

Gruner+Jahr is part of the Bertelsmann Group, owner of erstwhile music company BMG which became Sony BMG Music Entertainment after Sony Corporation bought 50% shares in it. Bertelsmann AG owns 74.9% of Gruner + Jahr, while the remaining 25.1% is owned by Hamburg family Jahr. G+J publishes over 300 magazines including GEO, National Geographic, NG Traveler, Sensa, CHIP, PC Guru, Glamour and Gala. G+J sells 40,000 copies of its flagship magazine GEO in India. It also acquired portals such as Stylio.pl, a social shopping site, STORY.pl, a Polish photo community site and German performance marketing firm Ligatus.

It has typically entered into a joint venture (50:50 ownership) with a local publisher. Its long term strategy is to evolve from being just a magazine publisher to a media house, with investments in online events, TV, mobile, multimedia sectors, according to a 2007 presentation on e4M.

spectatorlogoAfter Forbes India launched in May this year, another global news and current affairs magazine, the UK based Spectator, will be available in its Indian edition soon. ContentSutra first reported that Telegraph Publications Pvt Ltd, which publishes the newspaper The Telegraph, has received approval from the government to publish the magazine subject to various conditions imposed. One is that all key executives and editorial staff should be resident Indians, as must be the majority of the directors on its board.

ventureast-logoIndian venture capital and private equity fund VenturEast Trustee Company has received the green signal to receive contributions of up to $2 million from Mauritius-based VenturEast Proactive Fund. VenturEast PF was set up in 2007 as a multi-stage technology fund with $150 million in its kitty. VenturEast will use the funds to invest in securities of Indian companies (portfolio here). Foreign investment brought by VenturEast will toll Rs. 9.61 crores. Income realised will be distributed to the Mauritius-based company under the automatic route.

tikonalogoFIPB has approved ISP Tikona Digital Networks‘ request to amend the FC proposal and Vodafone Essar’s inclusion as an Internet service provider. More on Vodafone’s ISP plans here.

Tikona had, in April, received the go-ahead from FIPB to invest Rs. 237.26 crores in setting up and running an ISP network. Tikona has a Category-A license for providing broadband Internet across the country.

eros_logoEros International Media has received ex-facto approval for an existing investment by buying shares, under the provision Press Note 1 of 2005 as stipulated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. BGS Smartcard Systems India has also received approval to amend the FC approval. BGS manufactures smart cards and provides a payment system based on them called Duet. BGS is part of the South African group Net 1 UEPS and is headquartered at Austria with subsidiaries in India and Russia.

The following request of companies have been deferred:

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powermaxPowermax Communications, a provider of power transmission  and distribution management systems and services and smart grid networks, applied to the government to increase foreign equity participation from existing 49% to 74% in the enhanced paid up capital. Powermax also provides broadband over power lines (BPL) products and services.

In order to uplink a non-news and current affairs channel, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) has requested approval to transfer fully paid equity shares to an overseas company that belongs to its promoters.

The proposal of Unitech Wireless to increase its foreign shareholding up to 74% has also been deferred.

Requests of top telcos Tata Teleservices, Bharti Telemedia and NTT DoCoMo were rejected.

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