Reliance Industries (RIL) is divesting a part of its interest in ETV Channels to TV18 Broadcast Limited. TV18 and Network18 are funding the acquisition through a consolidated Rs 5400 crore rights issue, a part of which is being subscribed to Network18 Promoters backed by RIL backed Independent Media Trust. Around Rs 2100 crore of the funds being raised by TV18 are being used for this acquisition, while the rest will be used to pay debt and for working capital requirements. Essentially, what it suggests is that RIL is indirectly subscribing to TV18 and Network18 debentures through its promoter group, and money raised from that is being used to fund the acquisition of stake in ETV Channels owned by RIL. In addition, the Network18 group will provide preferential access to content from its media and web business to RIL's subsidiary Infotel Broadband Services. At the end of it, as Network18 group promoter Raghav Bahl puts it, "our Balance Sheets will become among the strongest in the industry" and that the companies will become debt free. In an email to Network18 employees, Bahl has called this the companys fourth innings, the first starting up, the second being the companys IPO, the third being the companys diversification across general news, entertainment, internet, print, filmed entertainment and e-commerce. The fourth: "...is now, when we have become the largest Indian media company, with a cache of capital and hungry ambition, ready to pile up runs and score a handsome victory on the 5th day of…
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