Turner buys 92% stake in NDTV Imagine


After days of speculation, its been confirmed today that Turner Asia Pacific Ventures has acquired a 92 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine.

While NDTV�۪s 76 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine would be given to Turner for $67 million (about Rs.314 crore), the Time Warner company would acquire fresh equity worth $50 million to get 92 per cent control of the entertainment channel launched last year.

“Turner International has signed an agreement in principle to acquire 92 per cent of NDTV Imagine, subject to regulatory and Time Warner Board approval,” Turner International India Pvt. Ltd. Managing Director Anshuman Misra said in a statement.

The deal is expected to help NDTV tide over the financial crisis, as is reflected in the Rs.86-crore loss posted by the group during the quarter ending September 2009. NDTV had debt of Rs. 112 crore as on 31st March 2009.

The transaction is pending approval from board of Turner’s parent, Time Warner Inc, and regulatory approvals, it added.

NDTV Imagine Ltd. runs flagship entertainment channel, NDTV Imagine, movie channel NDTV Lumiere, entertainment news channel, Imagine Showbiz and NDTV Imagine Film Co., a film production and distribution company.

The NDTV Imagine channel – with a market share of around 9 per cent is lagging far behind leader Colors, which has a share of about 24 per cent. It also trails ZEE TV, STAR Plus and Sony Entertainment Television Asia in the hotly contested market, with the leaders gaining most of the share of the advertising revenue pie, say analysts.

Recently Scripps Networks bought a 69 per cent stake in NDTV Lifestyle, which controls the NDTV Goodtimes channel. The deal values the lifestyle outfit at around �35 million.

Extracts from Reuters, The Hindu & The Wall Street Journal

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