Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of media behemoth Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), is looking for a strategic equity investor. The company could be diluting up to 20 per cent of its equity. Times Internet is wholly owned by BCCL.
The company is in talks with Yahoo, Rediff and a few financial investors for this deal. Times Internet has mandated Citicorp for broking the deal.
This comes on the heels of BCCL scouting for a business partner for its satellite business news channel to be launched in the middle of 2005.
The company was also reported to be considering taking a strategic investor or selling off its recently launched fashion and lifestyle channel, Zoom.
Times Internet, chaired by BCCL managing director Vineet Jain, operates through its umbrella brand, Indiatimes, which includes the mega portal Indiatimes.com, value-added SMS mobile service 8888 and other internet-enabled services.
Confirming the development, a top executive at Times Internet told Business Standard: “Yes, we are currently evaluating various options. We cannot divulge more details about this at the moment.”
The company has chalked out an expansion strategy that includes technology upgradation. “The funds generated through the sale of stake will be utilised for switching on to more sophisticated technology and other expansions plans,” the executive added.
Indiatimes.com was launched in 1999. Since then it has grown into one of the largest portals in India with over 1 billion page views a month.
The website is organised into 64 topical channels, which include news, astrology, sports, entertainment, health, business, infotech and lifestyle.
The mobile service of Indiatimes, 8888, offers a variety of value-added services like ringtone downloads, news, mobile ticket booking and other branded content.
The services receives around 1.8 million requests per day and is available with all service operators across India on both CDMA and GSM phones.