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TV18 to provide VC funding to convergence companies, earmarks Rs 500 million

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MUMBAI: Raghav Bahl-promoted Television Eighteen is jumping into the convergence arena. The company plans to invest Rs 500 million in this space, identifying small-sized ventures which need funding support.

TV18 will function more as a venture capitalist, making investments into these companies at an early stage. "We realise there are opportunities in the convergence area of internet, TV, and broadband. Small companies engaged in this field are springing up. We plan to support them and make judicious investments spread over a string of companies. We have taken an enabling resolution to make investments in this space up to a maximum of Rs 500 million," says a senior company executive.

TV18 is setting up a Media Venture Capital Trust (MVCT) through which it will make these investments. The MVCT shall be suitably structured as a tax efficient investment vehicle for undertaking these investments and will offer co-investment opportunities to the promoters of the company and other identified reputed investors.

The investments will be primarily in high growth companies. "TV18 will seek to invest, directly or indirectly minority stakes in these companies through repayment guaranteed / collateralized instruments convertible into equity, with an option to increase up to majority stake at a later date, wherever possible, subject to necessary provisions and approvals," the company informed the BSE.

Outside these investments, TV18 will continue to acquire vertical portals. The company, which has internet ventures being consolidated into a wholly owned subsidiary, acquired in April a 50 per cent stake in the Indian arm of Jobstreet.com. Eariler in the year, it had invested in Yatra Online where other investors included Anil Ambani's Reliance Capital and Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) – Promod Haque's leading venture capital firm.

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