Reliance Industries sets $679MN Network18 takeover in motion
Rebecca Hawkes
| 30 May 2014
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is set to take control of Network18 Media, including its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast (TV18), following board approval on Thursday (29 May) for what will become one of India's largest ever media acquisitions.

RIL will invest INR40 billion (US$679 million) in the Independent Media Trust (IMT), of which RIL is the sole beneficiary, to acquire control of Network18 Media & Investments (NW18).

"IMT would use the funds to acquire control over NW18 and TV18 resulting in ownership of about 78% in NW18 and 9% in TV18 and to acquire shares tendered in the open offers," said a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange from the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd.

The news follows an executive exodus from NW18, with the departure earlier this week of Group chief executive B Sai Kumar after 14 years, as well as chief operating officer Ajay Chacko, and chief financial officer RDS 'Binni' Bawa, who worked with NW18 for more than 19 years.

Network18 is a significant presence in India's news and entertainment TV sector, and is also involved in movie production, print media, e-commerce and digital content. In the future, the acquisition is expected to provide content for RIL's 4G mobile service.

Investment banker JM Financial Institutional Securities has been appointed to manage the open offers to acquire the public shareholdings in NW18, TV18 and fellow NW18 company Infomedia Press Ltd in line with India's substantial acquisition and takeover regulations