Sony may buy stake in Network 18 - GulfToday

Sony may buy stake in Network 18

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Japanese major is in talks to acquire a stake in the Indian television network controlled by Mukesh Ambani. Reuters

Sony Corp is said to be in talks to buy stake in Reliance Industries (RIL) promoted Network18 Media and Investments Ltd. According to a report, the Japanese major is in talks to acquire a stake in the Indian television network controlled by Mukesh Ambani, in a bid to tap the booming demand for content in the country.

Japan’s Sony Corp is in talks to buy a stake in India’s Network18 Media & Investments, sending shares in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s TV business 18 per cent higher. Shares of TV18 Broadcast Ltd, the broadcast arm of the Network 18 group, jumped 10 per cent.

Network18’s portfolio includes VH1, Nickelodeon, MTV, CNBC TV18 and a range of other local language channels, as well as news portals such as Firstpost and Moneycontrol and news channels CNN-News18 and CNBC TV18.

The media company and its affiliates have a 13.4 per cent share of India’s TV viewership, the company’s latest annual report showed.

Asia’s richest man, Ambani controls Network18 through various subsidiaries of his oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd.

The media house has a market value of 27 billion rupees ($376 million), Refinitiv data showed.

Sony is conducting due diligence and considering several potential deal options, citing people familiar with the matter.

A Reliance Industries spokesman declined to comment on the Bloomberg report, saying that the company “evaluates various opportunities on an ongoing basis.”

Sony did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

India’s lucrative but crowded TV market is expected to grow by more than 50% in the next three years, according to Statista.

Agencies