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Reliance could sell news assets to Times Group: Bloomberg
Posted on Friday, 29 November 2019 09:31
Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries is in talks to divest its news activities to New Delhi-headquartered media giant Times Group, according to Bloomberg.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the news provider said Bennett Coleman, which publishes the Times of India paper, intends to appoint advisors to conduct due diligence on the proposed transaction.

The sources, who did not wish to be identified as the matter is private, noted that a sale of the entire business, which is part of Network18 Media and Investments, or simply a smaller stake, are both being considered.

They cautioned that the process is in the early stages and there is no guarantee of a deal taking place.

A Reliance Industries spokesman said the firm regularly evaluates possible opportunities and initially declined to comment on the specifics of the report, before the firm later denied the reports, saying the news is “baseless and false”.

None of the other parties involved have made any statement on the matter.

Bloomberg said the assets have been put on the block as they are losing money.

Network18 describes itself as one of the largest media conglomerates, with 50 channels in India and a further 13 which are broadcast internationally.

Its news assets include TV18, which it claims is the largest network of its kind in India, providing business and general news, as well as regional channels.

Other stations are CNBC-TV18 and CNN-News18.

Network18’s entertainment assets do not appear to be safe either, with Bloomberg reporting that the firm has entered talks with Sony over a divestment of that business; the news provider said the electronics giant is currently conducting due diligence.

The company posted a loss of INR 3.82 billion for the six months to 30th September 2019, narrowed from a loss of INR 5.09 billion over the same timeframe in the previous year.

© Zephus Ltd