Television

BAG Films IPO overscribed six times

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MUMBAI: It's nothing like the heady days of 1999 when the Raghav Bahl promoted TV18's initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed 64 times, 55 times or 51 times (depending on which publication was reporting on it), but the signs are good.

The IPO of TV production house and media company BAG Films, promoted by Anurradha Prasad and journalist-turned-member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla, has certainly been well received. The ,issue which opened on 6 September, has been oversubscribed by over six times.

The company was offering 14.860,000 equity shares of Rs 2 each for a premium of Rs 8 per share aggregating to Rs Rs 148.6 million. Over 22,000 applications have been received for more than 85 million equity shares of an aggregate value exceeding Rs 212.5 million, a company release states.

Reflecting the current buoyancy in the stock markets, several retail and corporate investors are eagerly awaiting the initial public offerings of other media companies such as Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and Living Media Group's Aaj Tak channel, amongst others.

While SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta continues to blow hot and cold on the subject of an IPO, the fact remains that many analysts feel that till the likes of Star India and SET get listed on the capital markets, the television industry won't be accurately represented.

Tanu Healthcare, meanwhile, has announced its plans to tap the capital markets by the end of the year for its Rs 150 million Care TV (a health channel) project.

FINANCIAL ADVERTISING BOOM TIME AGAIN?

On another front, the financial advertising 'boom' witnessed in the 1990s seems to be making a comeback.

Financial ad agency head honchos such as Vivek Suchanti of Concept, Dr N Suchanti of Pressman, Sangeeta Singhvi of Sobhagya and Madan Bahl and Rajesh Chaturvedi of Adfactors have all confirmed heightened activity. They all mention that pitching for lucrative business has increased by leaps and bounds as compared to the lull between 1997 and 2002. Incidentally, Adfactors had handled the last big ticket issue of VSNL.

"The big ticket stock market offerings that will fuel investor interest include companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Patni Computers and IDBI Bank amongst others," says a fund manager from Kotak Mahindra Securities.

However, advertising professionals are guarded. Industry veteran David Franklin of Concept Advertising says, "The regulatory authority SEBI is pretty strict on compliance in corporate advertisements released by companies tapping the capital markets. The risk factors have been mentioned in each and every ad talking about the public issue. SEBI guidelines specify that exhaustive risk factors have to be part and parcel of all print and TV advertising."

Sources say that business channels like CNBC and other English news channels will benefit from this so-called boom in financial corporate advertising. The buoyant BSE sensex that has crossed the 4,000 mark will also fuel this growth, say other industry observers.

The ad fraternity for one just hopes that there is no stock market scam that will act as a deterrent to this expected boom.

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