Reliance Industries Limited is looking to sell 3.25 crore shares of Network18 Media, which represents 3.10% of the equity capital of the company. The sale will bring down RIL’s shareholding to 75% and increase public shareholding to 25%, as is mandated by Clause 40A of the Securities Contract (Regulation) Rules.
Shinano Retail Private Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of RIL, which is the promoter group company of Network18, will sell the shares through the stock exchange. Founded by Raghav Bahl in 1993, Network18 Media was acquired by Reliance Industries in May 2014 on an open offer of Rs 2295 crores, of which Rs 943.7 crore was paid for 21.96% stake in Network18, Rs 1347 crore for 26% in TV18, and Rs 3.92 crore for 26% in Infomedia18 Press. The process of acquisition of Network18 began in January 2012.
Following the acquisition, IMT appointed, apart from its own nominees, Deepak S Parekh and Adil Zainulbhai as Independent Directors. Raghav Bahl, Ritu Kapur, Vandana Malik and Subhash Bahl would no longer be promoter group of the Network18 and TV18, instead RIL, IMT, RB Mediasoft, RB Media Holdings, Adventure Marketing, Watermark Infratech and RB Holding would now be the promoters.
Note that, in January 2014, TV18 itself had completed the purchase of ETV Channels for Rs 2,053 crore. Following this, the company owned 100% stake in ETV News channels for Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Urdu, Bangla, Kannada & Haryana; 50% stake in ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Gujarati & ETV Oriya and 24.5% stake in ETV Telugu and ETV Telugu News.
Network18 financials: RIL owned Network18 reported a net profit of Rs 10.58 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 (Q4-FY15), up from Rs 4.12 crore loss in the same quarter last year and from Rs 12.15 crore loss in the previous quarter. For the financial year ended March 31, 2015 (FY15), Network18 reported operational revenue of Rs 3,126.6 crore, up 16% year-on-year (YoY) from Rs 2,692.4 crore in FY14.