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HT Media acquires business news platform VCCircle

HT Media has acquired Mosaic Media Ventures, the company which operates business news platform VCCircle and tech news platform TechCircle, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday. HT Media said that this was a “strategic acquisition”. As part of the deal, HT Media will invest upto Rs 6 crore, and an additional “revenue linked milestones payment” of upto Rs 1 Crore on deferred basis, to acquire 100% of paid- up share capital of Mosaic Media. The acquisition will be completed by the end of August, the company said. VCCircle was acquired by America’s News Corporation in 2015.

The company, which owns newspapers like Hindustan Times and Mint, said it will scale VCCircle and TechCircle to help Mint’s tech and deals content editorial capabilities. It will also use HT’s reach to augment VCCircle’s events business, and scale up database and research business. As per the filing, Mosaic Media had a turnover of Rs 14.5 crore in FY 20, and Rs 14 crore in FY 19.

In September 2019, the government of India decided to “permit” 26% FDI under the government route in digital media companies that upload or stream news and current affairs, which was seen as a restrictive move.

Nikhil adds: HT media had been in the running for VCCircle before NewsCorp bought it. VCCircle used to have a content partnership with HT Media’s Mint many years ago. This sale of VCCircle to HT Media is probably a direct impact of the mandate to reduce FDI in digital media to 26% (from 100%), and is not surprising.

NewsCorp prefers to own news platforms entirely, and bought VCCircle to enter the Indian market. Now that it possibly can’t own more than 26%, it has exited. We expected this ruling to significantly impact investment and M&A in the Indian media market, and this is the first significant development post the ruling

Earlier in July, the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group had picked up a 51% stake in the curated video news platform Editorji, founded by Vikram Chandra.

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