RIL acquires Network 18’s media properties for $680M

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance industries has taken over the media properties of Network18 viz. IBN7, CNBC-TV18, Lokmat, CNN-IBN and all its ETV channels, as per a Reuters report. The move aims at strengthening its soon to be launched 4G internet services.

Also, its TV channel, Colors and news website, Firstpost will now be a part of RIL.

As stated by The Hindu corespondent, there is still no clarity on the future of Network 18’s staff. Raghav Bahl, the founder and editor of the company has sold his stake, and his tenure will end by July this year.

The acquistion was done through Independent Media Trust (IMT), of which RIL is the sole beneficiary.

“IMT would use the funds to acquire control over NW18 and TV18 resulting in ownership of about 78 per cent in NW18 and 9 per cent in TV18 and to acquire shares tendered in the open offers,” the RIL said in a statement to Economic Times.

Earlier in 2012, RIL had extended a loan to the Network 18 group. The amount was undisclosed and it was in form of optionally convertible debentures. 

Network 18 group comprises of television and motion pictures (Colors, Viacom etc.), advertising, digital content (moneycontrol, in.com, ibnlive,firstpost) and virtual commerce business (Homeshop18).

Network18 Media & Investments Limited’s venture capital arm, Capital18 has entered into an agreement with Dentsu India Group to divest its stake in digital agency Webchutney. An official statement Dentsu Media & Holdings India Pvt. Ltd. stated that it will acquire 80% stake in Webchutney and the company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of DMHI by 2017.

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