TV Today Networks seeks FIPB clearance to induct foreign equity

TV Today Networks, promoter of leading Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, has applied to the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB) seeking permission to induct foreign equity, senior government sources revealed today. 

GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric, proposes to take a roughly 5 per cent stake in TV Today, which is why the FIPB application is being made, the sources say. 

Efforts to get in touch with Aaj Tak CEO G Krishnan proved futile as he is abroad at the moment. 

TV Today's quest for fresh funds may well be linked to reports that that the group is planning to launch an English news channel before the year is out. 

The success of Aaj Tak, which broke even in seven months of its launch on 1 January 2001 and made it to the top slot despite not having a first mover advantage would certainly make TV Today an attractive proposition for any prospective investor. 

If reports that Aaj Tak is planning an English news channel prove true, it will enjoy first mover advantage as there is no purely English news channel broadcasting out of India at the moment. Prannoy Roy's NDTV is also reportedly planning an English and Hindi news channel that will launch simultaneously immediately after its divorce with Star India is formalised in March 2003.

Of course, it may just be that TV Today is only looking for some serious money to buttress Aaj Tak as it girds to do battle with the new avatar that Star News will present to the world come 1 April 2003.

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