Television

Aditya Birla Group may exit India Today Group

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MUMBAI: Even as rumours of the Adani group wanting to buy out NDTV is looming large, another company has decided to exit from the media business. The one so charming industry doesn’t seem to be boding well for all, it seems.

According to media reports, the Aditya Birla Group is planning to cash out its investment in Living Media India, the holding company of the India Today Group and is said to have appointed Bank of America Merill Lynch (BofA-ML) for exiting the two year old investment in the Aroon Purie controlled group.

Living Media acts as a holding company and owns 57.2 per cent stake in TV Today Network. The listed company controls its broadcasting assets, including Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, and operates its publishing business, which includes a host of magazines such as India Today.

The Birla group bought 27.5 stake in May 2012 and had at that time said it saw media as a sunrise sector from an investment point of view and that Living Media offered one of the best opportunities for growth and value creation.

Even though the companies never disclosed the price of the stake sale, according to experts, TV Today network was then valued at around Rs 1300-1400 crore and Birla paid about Rs 350 crore to buy the stake.

Aditya Birla Group has also previously forayed into the media business through a production company Applause Entertainment in 2003 which shut down in 2009. The production house is known for Amitabh Bachchan starrer Black.

The stake sale comes on the backdrop of Mukesh Ambani’s RIL taken over media house Network 18 gaining control over IBNlive.com, Moneycontrol.com, Firstpost.com, Cricketnext.in, Homeshop18, Bookmyshow.com and broadcast channels like Colors, CNBC TV18, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and CNBC Awaaz, all run by Network18.

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