FT, London picks up 13.8% stake in Business Standard

NEW DELHI: Financial Times (FT) of London will be picking up 13. 8 per cent stake in Business Standard Ltd (BSL), a subsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Finance Ltd, which publishes Business Standard newspaper. The UK media company will invest Rs 141 million in BS.

The London Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange-listed Pearson owns the FT Group. Editor and CEO of BS, TN Ninan confirmed the move to stating, "The initial agreement has been just signed."

Though Ninan did not specify the amount of investment that would be made in BSL by the foreign partner, he did admit that the investment would be made "directly by FT or an affiliate".

"Subsequent agreements and other details are still to be worked out," Ninan added.

BS is the second newspaper to have said that it has finalized foreign investment after the investment norms were liberalised last year by the government. Recently, Hindustan Times had announced that it was tying up with Hendersen Global for bringing in 20 per cent of foreign investment in a new company called HT Media. It envisages activity in radio, dissemination of news and information, television, Internet, video films, magazines and books, besides newspapers soon.

The others who have evinced interest in either setting up shop in India or tying up with an India media company, include US business magazine BusinessWeek, Par Golf from Exposure Media and Intelligent Computing Chip from TBW Publishing. All of them are interested in starting an Indian edition through licence agreements with the parent companies.

It is not known whether a tie-up with FT would be extended to renewed TV forays or in other specialty magazine segment by BS. But it is expected that after having tied up with Ananda Bazaar Patrika group for Star News venture, Star/News Corp may make an entry into print medium too.

Pearson is an international media company with market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing. The FT Group is the most international source of business and political news and analysis.

Pearson is listed on the London (PSON) and New York (PSO) Stock Exchanges. In 2002 the company had sales of $6,955 million and operating profits of $794 million.

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