TV Today scrip soars on Reliance Capital offer

MUMBAI: With TV Today Network shares shooting up, Anil Ambani's Reliance Capital may find it difficult to attract investors for an open offer as it bids to increase stake in the news broadcasting company.

The scrip jumped 5 per cent today to close at Rs 147.15 on the BSE, higher than the offer price for 20 per cent stake at Rs 130.50 per share. Reliance Capital, in fact, had set the price seven per cent below TV Today's Tuesday market closing at Rs 140.2.

Though the offer would open later from 6-to-25 June, analysts expect the price of TV Today to stay firm. Investors may want to sell now at a higher price or hold on with the hope that the scrip would climb as the offer date opens.

"The price at Rs 130.50 is seen as too low to attract investors. It is not an aggressive bid and needs to be revised for having any serious selling interest from existing shareholders," says an analyst at a broking firm.

Reliance already has 11.93 per cent in TV Today after a recent purchase in the open market. The interest to hike up stake, analysts say, is partly due to the suppressed scrip price of TV Today which runs a clutch of news channels including the Hindi market leader Aaj Tak.

Reliance would have to pay Rs 1.5 billion for the 20 per cent offer. For a similar stake in rival news broadcasters like NDTV and Global Broadcast News (CNN-IBN), the financial services firm controlled by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group would have had to cough out more.

Analysts dismiss the possibility of a takeover with the promoters of TV Today controlling 55.69 per cent stake in the company. "Reliance Capital is, perhaps, sending signals that they are interested in the TV company in some form. It could be as financial investors. But if they sense an opportunity, they may move in," analysts say.

In an official statement, Reliance Capital has clarified its position. "We have strong confidence in the future prospects and growth potential of TV Today, and wish to increase our stake beyond the threshold of 15 per cent specified under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) takeover regulations. For meeting the procedural requirements, we are making an open offer to facilitate the increase in shareholding beyond 15 per cent. This will not result in any change in the management and / or control of TV Today."

Reliance Capital has equity in several media and entertainment companies including TV18, NDTV and GBN. It acquired a majority stake in Adlabs Films and Synergy Communications and has expressed interest to grow in this sector.

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