Times of India Group to invest Rs 211 million in Mid-Day

MUMBAI: The print industry is seeing strange marriages. If traditional rivals The Times of India and Hindustan Times formed a joint venture to publish a newspaper in Delhi, Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd, publishers of a popular tabloid in Mumbai and Bangalore, today announced its new strategic alliance.

Bennett Coleman Co. Ltd (BCCL which owns the Times Group) will own 6.65 per cent in Mid-Day Multimedia for Rs 211.1 million. The holding will be routed through a preferential allotment of Mid-Day shares at Rs 60 per share.

Mid-Day said today it would issue and allot on a preferential basis 26,85,000 equity shares at a price of Rs 60 per share to Banhem Financial & Investment Consultants Ltd, an affiliate of BCCL. It would further issue 8,33,333 convertible preference shares to Banhem Financial & Investment Consultants at Rs 60 per share.

"We have signed a business cooperation agreement. This alliance will benefit both organisations through cooperation in printing, circulation and advertising sales," Mid-Day said in a statement.

The promoters of Mid-Day are enhancing their investments in the company to support the company's growth in print anf FM radio in metro markets across the country. Mid-Day will issue and allot on a preferential basis 29,27,333 equity shares at a price of Rs 60 per share to Ferari Investments and Trading Co Pvt Ltd, a promoter Group company. It will also issue 8,33,333 share warrants at a subscription price of Rs 6 per warrant (10 per cent of an exercise price of Rs 60 per warrant) to Ferari Investments and Trading.

Mid-Day promoters will, thus, put in an incremental investment of Rs 225.6 million. The promoters will own 51 per cent while BCCL will have 6.65 per cent after both rounds of investment, the release said.

It may be recalled that the Indian Express had bought a 10 per cent stake in Mid-Day for a little over Rs 250 million while BCCL held about 8 per cent. Subsequently, both had sold their stakes in the open market.

In a joint statement, BCCL executive director Ravi Dhariwal and Mid-Day Multimedia managing director said: "The Times of India with its leadership position in the morning broadsheet market and Mid-Day with a successful formula for the middle-of-the day, are in fact complementary plays. With this alliance, we will endeavour to garner a larger market share of both readers and advertising in major metros of the country."

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