Turner International is close to buying a controlling stake in NDTV Imagine, the company which runs an entertainment channel of the same name, Imagine Showbiz and NDTV Lumiere.

Currently NDTV Networks holds 72.5 per cent in NDTV Imagine and employees hold another 20 per cent. Film director Karan Johar owns 5 per cent and the rest is distributed among a few others.

Sources close to the development told Business Standard that Turner will buy NDTV Network’s entire stake, though this could not be verified.

Asked about the deal, Anshuman Misra, Managing Director, Turner International India, said, “It is Turner Broadcasting’s policy not to comment on speculation. India is a critical market for Turner and we are continually exploring business opportunities in the M&E space.”

An NDTV spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on speculation.”

However, sources close to the deal said the acquisition would most likely be concluded in January. “Internally, at the NDTV Imagine office, the consolidation is already happening,” the sources added.

Control over NDTV Imagine, which has a channel share of 8 per cent and is the fifth-largest channel in terms of viewership in the Hindi general entertainment space in India, will provide Times Warner a foothold in a fast-growing genre.

Turner also forayed into the Hindi general entertainment space through the channel Real, which is a 50-50 joint venture with Miditech (promoted by the Alva brothers).

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.