NEW DELHI – Mukesh Ambani promoted Reliance Industries (RIL) said it would invest in Network18 and TV18, to help fund promoters of the media firms to acquire a bouquet of regional channels from the Eenadu group.
“Independent Media Trust, a trust set up for the benefit of RIL, has agreed to fund the promoters of Network18 and TV18 to enable them to subscribe to the proposed rights issue announced by both the companies today,” RIL said in a statement.
The investment would result in making the two firms debt free. And in return, RIL would have access to the digital content of the media group for distribution through its 4G broadband network being set up by the company.
RIL, through investments of about 2,600 crore by its group companies, currently holds interest in various ETV channels being operated and managed by the Eenadu Group. It holds 100 percent stake in regional news channels, namely ETV Uttar Pradesh, ETV Madhya Pradesh, ETV Rajasthan, ETV Bihar and ETV Urdu channel.
It also has a 100 percent interest in regional entertainment channels ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Gujarati and ETV Oriya and 49 percent interest in Telegu channels — ETV Telugu and ETV Telugu News.
“A part of the above investments comprising of 100 percent interest in news channels, 50 percent interest in entertainment channels and 24.5 percent interest in Telugu Channels is being profitably divested to TV18 Broadcast Limited,” said RIL.
In a separate announcement, the TV18 board approved a rights issue of 2,700 crore to pay off existing debt and fund their acquisition plans.