Times Group called reports of it acquiring Reliance Industries media assets’ “false rumours” and said that it was “not engaged in the claimed discussions”. However, the media group, in a non-denial denial of sorts further said that in order to build a sustainable media platform in India, it will “explore all strategic options as they present”. It did not refer to Reliance Industries by name in its statement.
On November 28, Bloomberg had reported that Reliance was in talks to sell its news media assets to the Times Group, and that the latter was looking to hire advisers for due diligence on Reliance’s Network18. However, at the time, the report had specified that talks between the two companies are at an early stage and may not result in a deal, and more suitors to acquire Reliance’s media assets might emerge.
Reliance called the Bloomberg report “baseless and false” without giving any details, as reported by Hindu BusinessLine. We have reached out to Reliance for further clarification.
Meanwhile, another Bloomberg report from November 21 said that Sony is also in talks with Reliance to acquire Network18, but again pointed out that the deal might not go through since talks are at an early stage. Network 18 runs a range of news properties including News18, CNBCTV18.com, MoneyControl and Firstpost, and operates entertainment TV channels such as Colors, MTV India, VH1 and Comedy Central India.