News channel stock up on government ok for FII inflows

MUMBAI: Media stocks showed varied movements on the stock market and rallied smartly after the government today announced FIIs, non-resident Indians and overseas corporate bodies will be allowed to invest in the print medium’s news category and TV news channels.

One of the major gainers at the stock market was Deccan Chronicle that opened at Rs 185 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) to close at a high of Rs 212, gaining in the process Rs. 26.55.

Yes Bank country head, entertainment and media, Sunil Kheterpal said, "The approval, which has been pending for a while, is a welcome step for both the print and electronic media (stocks)."

Another market analyst stated, "The news about allowing FIIs, etc was doing the rounds and the market today reacted optimistically to the formal announcement."

Most of media stocks, except Zee Telefilms, registered varied degree of gains on the stock market today, buoyed by the government announcement after a Cabinet meeting.

TV Today Network, which opened at Rs 79.25, closed for the day at Rs 88. NDTV opened at Rs 196.45 and closed the day at Rs 214. TV 18 opened at Rs 267.20 and closed for the day at Rs 278. Zee closed at Rs 142.30 after opening the day at Rs 146.

Dwelling on the media stock rally a market analyst was of the opinion that NDTV, TV 18 and Deccan Chronical would be “on the radar of FIIs.”

Mid-Day Multimedia, which had kicked up a political controversy when it went public few years back because of the possibility of FIIs investing in the stock and, thus, in an Indian newspaper, today opened at Rs 63 to close the day at Rs 70.                     

While pointing out that FIIs would be “interested in media stocks, though being selective,” another stock market analyst opined Mid-day Multimedia is still grappling with competition and might be “one of the less likely contenders” (for FII investments).

In this connection, market analysts feel that a possibility of the Indian Express group and Hindustan Times, which are also looking at going public, will bring good growth in the print media sector.

The Union Cabinet today okayed investments in print’s news category by FIIs, OCBs and NRIs within the overall foreign investment cap of 26 for this sector.

I&B minister Jaipal Reddy while making an announcement on allowing printing of facsimile editions of foreign newspapers in India ruled out any threat to the Indian newspapers.

"There would be no threat to the invasion of news content of Indian newspapers because while facsimile editions of foreign papers have been allowed, these papers must be a standard publication in their own country as well, and their Indian editions will not be permitted," the minister explained.

Dwelling on the electronic media, Reddy reiterated that the ceiling on foreign investment of 26 per cent cap will hold, but, as hinted earlier, FIIs, OCB, NRIs, have been permitted to invest in news channels as well.

Market analysts believe that the upturn in the media sector augurs well for investors. "There is scope to substantially increase FII investment in the broadcasting companies,” a fund manager in a leading broking house said.

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