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Stockmarket reacts to buzz on FDI raise to 100 per cent in DTH, cable TV firms

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MUMBAI: Is the government going ahead with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's August 2013 recommendation of allowing a hike in foreign direct investment (FDI) in content carriage companies to 100 per cent from the current 74 per cent? And in news channels from 26 per cent to 49 per cent?

No formal announcement has come as yet, but the buzz is that  the Narendra Modi-led government is indeed looking at TRAI’s recommendations which have been gathering dust on the ministry of information and broadcasting’s shelves at Shastri Bhavan in Delhi.  A while ago finance and MIB minister Arun Jaitley had stated that technology had made FDI limits on news channels redundant.

Apparently, an inter-ministerial committee is examining that proposal (which was part of TRAI’s consultation paper released in 2013)   along with those relating to hiking the foreign investment limits in cable TV direct-to-home (DTH), internet TV, mobile TV, HITS (headend-in-the sky) and teleports from 74 per cent to 100 per cent.

But the buzz generated by a Press Trust of India report was enough to lead to  a rise in the share prices of at least two listed content carriage firms  - the Essel group owned Dish TV and the Sameer Manchanda promoted DEN Network on 21 September. DEN, along with the Rajan Raheja promoted Hathway Cable have been enabling themselves to be in  a position to hike the foreign investment limits in their firms  to 74 per cent.

Dish TV shares closed at Rs 116.45, 6.59 per cent higher than its previous close. To be fair to Dish TV, the share is being tipped by almost every investment advisory firm as a stock to be bought as it has been showing an improvement in its financial performance.

At an early stage of the day (Monday) Den Network's share were up by 1.53 per cent priced at Rs 129. The day, however,  ended with  its shares at Rs 126 down by 0.35 per cent compared to the previous close. Other listed MSOs such as  Siticable, Hathway and Ortel Communications, also saw similar downward movement in their stocks after climbing earlier in the day.

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