Mukesh Ambani in talks to buy Network 18: WSJ

20 Dec,2011

Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, India’s biggest conglomerate, is in talks to buy Network 18, the television and internet company, the Wall Street Journal said quoting people familiar with the situation.

 

Ambani, the paper said, has been in talks with Network 18 founder and controlling shareholder Raghav Bahl on the issue.

 

“The talks may yet lead to nothing. It also isn’t clear what the value of Ambani’s investment would be and whether he is operating on behalf of Reliance Industries or whether he would put his own cash into a deal. Network18 Media and Investments, the holding company for the conglomerate, has annual revenue of about $300 million but isn’t profitable,” said the paper.

 

A spokesperson for Reliance Industries told ET that the report is not true. Speculation has been growing in recent weeks about possible takeovers and consolidation in the Indian television and media space as ad industry revenue shrinks due to the slowdown and costs remain stubbornly high.

 

Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Industries have been linked to several transactions not just in media and entertainment but also in other industries after RIL surprised everybody by buying a small stake in EIH, the hotel company that runs the Oberoi group of hotels last year.

 

RIL has more than Rs 60,000 crore in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet and it is widely expected to buy some assets in its core businesses and outside.

 

Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2011, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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