Television

Zee meets but no deal on NewsX

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MUMBAI: Subhash-Chandra promoted Zee Network has decided not to acquire NewsX after having met to explore possibilities of acquiring the English news channel.

NewsX would have offered Zee an entry into the English news channel business. The attraction of acquiring the loss-making channel at a low price and enjoying tax benefit initiated discussions for a possible deal.

"We met but are not acquiring NewsX," a source familiar with the development said.

A deal for Zee makes sense if it comes at a very low valuation. Zee News Ltd, which runs a clutch of news channels including Hindi news channel Zee News, Zee Business (Hindi business news channel), 24 Taas (Marathi) and Zee 24 Gantalu (Telugu), has been mulling launch of an English news channel but has been cautious of not overstretching itself.

NewsX is currently owned by Nai Duniya owner Vinay Chhajlani and the former editor of Business World Jehangir Pocha, after they bought it in 2009 from INX.

Zee News Ltd. chief executive officer Barun Das did not want to comment on the issue.

The English news space is occupied by Times Now, NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN and Headlines Today.

ZNL needn't be in a hurry to have an English news channel as the market is bad. They are focused on their operating margins and they didn't disturb that. Unless, of course, they get a channel to acquire at a lucrative price and benefit from taxes. They already have a studio and can cut down on costs while upping revenues from their bouquet strength," said a media analyst.

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