TV18 plans to raise Rs 1 billion, HSBC gets mandate

MUMBAI: Raghav Bahl-promoted Television Eighteen India Ltd. plans to raise Rs 1 billion by placing equity shares or convertible bonds with foreign institutional investors (FIIs).
The company has mandated HSBC to manage the proposed issue, a source close to the company says. "We are close to finalising on whether it would be an equity or a convertible bond instrument. We have mandated HSBC and plan to raise Rs 1 billion," he adds.

When contacted, TV18 CEO Haresh Chawla declined to comment on the issue.

TV18 had earlier, in its Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM), cleared a proposal to enable the board to issue up to an aggregate amount of Rs 3 billion through a "qualified institutional placement to qualified institutional buyers." This was "just an enabling clause so that the board would not have to seek regulatory clearance again," the source adds. By making qualified institutional placements, companies are able to raise money in India from FIIs.

TV18 may use part of the amount to fund acquisitions and upgradation of studio infrastructure. Bahl has aggressive expansion plans, both in the TV and the internet space.

Web 18, TV18's internet arm, will have a chief executive officer to head the operations, the source says. Recently, TV18 Group announced the acquisition of three internet companies ?, and Urban Eye, a web design and technology firm. The internet businesses are being consolidated under Web 18.

TV18 is also setting up a Media Venture Capital Trust (MVCT) through which it plans to invest Rs 500 million in the convergence space, identifying small-sized ventures to whom it would provide funding support at the early stage.

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