CHENNAI: Sun Network is all set to acquire RPG Netcom, a move which will mark the company’s foray into cable TV business in the non South market.
SCV, the cable TV arm of Sun Network, is in the last lap of procedures to totally buy out the leading Kolkata-based multi system operator (MSO). The deal is being worked out by Ernst & Young.
Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Sun Network’s chairman and managing director Kalanithi Maran says the deal is almost through. “We are on the verge of closing the deal and expect to make an announcement within a month,” he adds.
Maran was not willing to disclose the valuation of the deal that was being worked out. The buzz in the market, though, is that SCV would be paying between Rs 350-450 million.
The acquisition of RPG’s cable network is expected to precede the launch of Sun’s Bangla entertainment channel in September. Earlier, Sun had planned to launch Surjo on 14 April. Instead, Sun will be launching Aditya, a Telugu channel on 14 April.
RPG has a 40 per cent share of the local market but, like other MSOs, has very few direct points. The ailing MSO had long been in hunt of an equity partner but the negotiations with Star India fell through a few years back.
What brought Sun and RPG into the negotiating table? “We saw an opportunity in the market while RPG may have its own reasons to exit,” says Maran.
So what is the plan ahead? “We haven’t bought the company yet. If we do, we will bring in more fibre optics into the network. The future is in digital services. Worldwide, cable has gone digital,” says Maran.
Is Sun also talking to acquire stake in Cablecom and Manthan, the two other big cable operators in Kolkata? “I am not going to comment on that. As a policy, we talk only when anything definite has been arrived at,” says Maran.