IDBI, Bank of Baroda pick up 20 per cent in B.A.G Infotainment

MUMBAI: The appetite of Indian banks for investing in private FM radio business has begun. IDBI Bank and Bank of Baroda have picked up 10 per cent each in B.A.G Infotainment, the subsidiary company under which B.A.G Films operates its radio business.

"We have offloaded 20 per cent in our radio company to the two banks for Rs 40 million. We are issuing the shares to them on par value," B.A.G Films managing director Anuradha Prasad tells

B.A.G Infotainment will also be diluting an additional 20 per cent to a foreign private equity investor at a higher valuation. The promoters of B.A.G will keep the remaining 60 per cent with them.

"We are in advanced negotiations with private equity investors for parting with 20 per cent equity at a higher premium. We hope to finalise the deal soon," says Prasad.

The government regulation makes it mandatory for the promoter of private FM radio stations to have at least 51 per cent holding in the company. "We could have diluted a further nine per cent but have decided to keep it with us," says Prasad.

B.A.G has earmarked an investment of Rs 480 million for its radio business. The company has already pumped in Rs 140 million including Rs 50 million towards licence fee for the 10 radio stations it plans to operate in.

The company will kick off its first radio station in March, says Prasad. The stations it has successfully bid for include Patiala, Hissar, Karnal, Simla, Ahmadnagur, Jalgaon, Dhule, Ranchi, Jabalpur and Muzaffarpur.

"We have already lined up 1000 hours of programming. We have ordered for the equipment and are on track to launch the stations as per schedule," says B.A.G Infotainment chief operating officer Rajiv Mishra.

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