Perhaps it was worth the wait: media company NDTV has reached an agreement with Malaysian co Astro All Asia Networks to sell 49% stake in its Lifestyle channels business for $40 million, and create an alliance for “non-material diversification into complementary lines related to the lifestyle segment”. So, events and merchandise? NDTVs lifestyle business currently includes the channel NDTV Good Times (with a co-branding agreement with Kingfisher). NDTV will hold the majority 51% stake in the joint venture with Astro.

NDTV Lifestyle is a loss making entity, though its situation appears to have improved. The company reported a turnover of Rs. 31.6 crore ($6.93 million) for the year ended March 31st 2010, up 10% year on year, and a loss of Rs. 7.16 crore, down 38.56% from Rs. 11.65 crore the previous fiscal year.

The Deal

South Asia Creative Assets Limited, a subsidiary of Astro All Asia Networks plc, will acquire a 49% stake in NDTV Lifestyle Holdings Private Limited in two tranches. NDTV Lifestyle Holds Private Limited is the proposed holding company for NDTV Lifestyle Limited, the lifestyle subsidiary of NDTV.

NDTV Lifestyle: From Scripps To Astro

This deal comes five months after a deal for the lifestyle channels with Scripps was called off. Scripps was going to acquire 69% in the lifestyle business for $55 million, valuing the business at $79.71 million. The joint venture with Astro appears to value the business marginally higher, at $81.6 million. Also take into account that Astro isn’t taking the majority shareholding. As regulations in India, companies can acquire 100% in lifestyle TV channels, but investment in news businesses is capped at 26%. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

Astro In India

Malaysian co Astro is an integrated cross media group, with presence in Malaysia, India, Middle East and other regional and international markets, primarily engaged in the provision of direct-to-home subscription television services, radio services, film library licensing, multi-media interactive services, and television content creation, aggregation and distribution. In India, Astro:
– Owns 20% stake in South Asia FM Limited, acquired via South Asia Multimedia Media Technologies Limited
– Recently picked up stake in Sanjeev Kapur’s Turmeric Vision, with plans to launch a food channel
– Has reportedly acquired 50% stake for Rs. 100 crore, in Getit Infoservices, a yellow pages directory business.
– Has reportedly inked a mobile Value Added Services and online content JV with Mogae Digital
– Has partnered with Diginatives Content Solutions, which creates digital educational content for net and mobile