Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL), the radio and broadcast business subsidiary owned by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital is selling 49% stake of its radio business to Zee Media Corporation Ltd, according to the company’s filing with stock exchanges. Simultaneously, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), a separate entity under Zee Media will also acquire 100% stake in RBNL’s Entertainment and TV business. Both transactions have been valued at at Rs 1,900 crore ($283 million).
RBNL and Zee Media have signed “definitive binding agreements” for the deal after receiving approvals from board members of both companies. It is now pending shareholders and other regulatory approvals. Reliance Capital will use the proceeds from the sale to cut its internal debt and reduce additional debt in “non-core business of media and entertainment.”
RBNL currently runs a network of FM Radio channels under the brand name of 92.7 Big FM, which is currently live in 45 cities, 1200 towns and claims to have nearly 43 million listeners per week. RBNL will be transferring 5 operational and 14 new FM channels into two Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), and Zee Media shall acquire a 49% stake in each of these two SPVs. Note that both companies shall also have a call/put option for the balance 51% stake in both the SPVs after the stipulated lock-in period .
Reliance’s TV channels including Big Magic (Hindi Comedy Genre channel) and Big Ganga TV (Bhojpuri channel) will be merged into Zee Entertainment. According to Zee Media, the acquisition will help complement its news and current affairs TV channels, by targeting the larger radio audience base and engaging TV viewers on a different platform.
Dish TV, Videocon merger
In this month, the Indian broadcast industry observed one of the biggest consolidations: DTH operators Dish TV and Videocon D2H signed a definitive deal to merge their operations into a single entity. The transaction is expected to be completed by second half of 2017. Dish TV will own a majority of 55% stake, while Videocon will have the remaining 45% in the combined entity, called Dish TV Videocon Limited.