Zee Entertainment in talks to acquire Anil Ambani's Reliance Broadcast Network

13 Sep 2013
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MUMBAI: Subhash Chandra promoted Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) is in advanced talks with Anil Ambani's Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) to acquire 49% stake in the latter's BIG FM radio business as well as a 100% stake in its television channels.

"Talks with ZEE are at an advanced stage. They are going to take over the television business and acquire 49% in our radio business," said an RBNL executive on condition of anonymity.

A ZEE official, too, confirmed that discussions were at an advanced stage and said a final decision would be taken when Chandra and his son Punit Goenka, who are currently overseas, return to India later this month.

RBNL CEO Tarun Katia declined comment. ZEE CFO Mihir Modi said the company was always open to explore opportunities but at this stage it had nothing specific to talk about.

As per current guidelines, FM operators who won frequencies last year under the so called Phase III regime, cannot offload more than 49% stake till 2018. According to people familiar with the development, ZEE will take its stake to 100% after the lock-in period is over.

While final discussions are on, the transaction is likely to value RBNL at over Rs 2,000 crore. "Some value will be attached to 49% stake of RBNL, while some will be for 100% of the TV business," said one of the persons familiar with the development. RBNL runs the largest private FM business in India in terms of frequencies under Big FM brand. The radio business had turned profitable a couple of years back. In FY16, it is expected to clock an operating profit of Rs 140 crore.

While it currently operates in 45 cities with sales partnerships in two more cities, RBNL has spent Rs 116.9 crore to acquire 14 additional frequencies in the phase III auctions, which will take it to 59-station network by end of this year.

According to RAM (radio audience measurement) ratings, Big FM is No. 1 in Mumbai, No. 2 in Kolkata and Bengaluru and at No. 3 or 4 in the Delhi market.

The television business includes national channel Big Magic and a regional channel Big Ganga, which caters to one of the fastest growing regional segments - Bihar and Jharkhand -in the country. While Big Ganga is the market leader in the genre, and has turned profitable, Big Magic, a comedy-centric channel, is making losses.





Dream Pro
2 Jun 2014
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If it happens

So we can say Zee Magic & Zee Ganga


4 Oct 2014
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2k crore for 2 channels ???? :dodgy
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