NDTV World set to merge with NDTV; process at advanced stage

MUMBAI: NDTV World, the wholly owned subsidiary of Prannoy Roy's New Delhi Television Ltd, is being amalgamated into the parent company.

With this move, Dr Roy looks to have finally buried his plans for launching, at some point, an "infotainment" channel on the lines of NBC, which was the original reason for which NDTV World was constituted.

Although the outer time limit set for the completion of this process is 31 March 2004, informed sources say the merger will go through much before that.

A committee appointed by the Delhi High Court at its meeting on 6 December approved the merger proposal. The appointment of the committee followed the filing of amalgamation papers in the High Court on 7 November.

As per the terms of the application before the High Court, a copy of which is with, NDTV World (paid up capital of Rs 185.2 million, authorized capital Rs 250 million) will be merged with NDTV Ltd (paid up capital Rs 204.57 million, authorized capital Rs 250 million) effective from the date the High Court gives its final clearance.

According to sources, from NDTV's end, all necessary documentation has been completed and all that remains is the court's okay for the merger.

According to the papers that have been submitted, the principal reason for doing away with NDTV World is that its "non-news and other business has not really increased as anticipated." Since NDTV World's infrastructure, manpower and surplus reserves are mainly being utilized by NDTV Ltd, there is no rationale for the existence of two separate companies, the submission states.

What this all means is that for NDTV, it is the news business, and only the news business, upon which its future rests.

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