NDTV, Hindu Group complete sale of MetroNation Chennai to Dina Thanthi promoters

MUMBAI: News broadcaster New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) and Kasturi and Sons Limited (the publishers of Hindu newspaper) have exited from their loss-making city-centric English language channel in Chennai.

The two joint venture partners had put MetroNation Chennai Television Ltd, which ran the NDTV Hindu channel, on the block and were looking for a buyer for long. Now they have completed the sale of MetroNation to Educational Trustee Company Private Limited (ETCPL), the holding company of Tamil daily Dina Thanthi.

Dina Thanthi owners, thus, get a television presence in the Tamil Nadu market. The Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun Group, dominating the TV broadcasting space, has also got a print presence after acquiring Dinakaran.

NDTV said the regulatory and statutory approvals have been received and they along with Kasturi and Sons Ltd (KSL) have transferred their respective stakes in MetroNation to ETCPL. With this, MetroNation Chennai TV (MNC) becomes a 100 per cent subsidiary of ETCPL.

NDTV held 51 per cent stake in the company while Kasturi and Sons held the remaining 49 per cent. MNC ran Chennai’s first and only city based English news and current affairs channel NDTV Hindu.

The channel launched in 16 May 2009. In February 2011, NDTV started looking for investors as losses in MetroNation amounted to Rs 275.1 million. The channel was set up with a capital of Rs 102 million.

In October 2011, the promoters of Dina Thanthi had agreed to buy out the shares of NDTV and Kasturi and Sons to gain 100 per cent control of MNC for an estimated Rs 150 million.

The completion of the sale of MNC cements NDTV's exit from its loss-making ventures. In December 2009, the broadcasters made an exit from their cash-guzzling Hindi general entertainment business, selling their 92 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine to Time Warner for $126.5 million.

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