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Carried Yesterday: Raghav Bahl denies interest in TV9, calls it speculation

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Carried Yesterday: Raghav Bahl denies interest in TV9, calls it speculation

There have been numerous reports in the past few years stating that serial entrepreneur Srini Raju is on the verge of selling his stake in TV9 Group.

The rumours have resurfaced this time around from sources within the government. If word is to be believed, then Raju is in talks to sell his TV9 stake to Network 18 and Quintillion Media founder, Raghav Bahl.

Speculation has been rife around the sale of TV9,  which was earlier said to be on the radar of Subhash Chandra of Zee as well.

“This is complete speculation,” said Bahl when asked to comment on the development.

exchange4media tried reaching out to Raju through several mediums but our queries went unanswered. If the deal goes through then its valuation will surely be the talk of the town.

Various reports have alternatively speculated on the worth of Raju’s stake in TV9 placing the figure between the range of Rs 500 crore to Rs 600 crore.

TV9 is run by Associated Broadcasting Company Limited (ABCL), which was founded by Ravi Prakash. The network consists of an impressive line-up of regional channels in languages such as Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati and Marathi. At the end of fiscal year 2015-16, as many as six channels of TV9 Group had combined unaudited revenues of Rs 188.56 crore.

At this juncture, exchange4media can confirm that the financial projections for 2016-17 of the same set of channels are at Rs 228.30 crore, which is an increase of nearly Rs 40 crore or 21.07%. The EBITDA is also expected to rise by Rs 25.61 crore from Rs 37.98 crore to Rs 63.59 crore.

TV9 Telugu and TV9 Kannada are the cash cows of the group bringing in accumulated revenues of Rs 136.91 crore during the fiscal year 2015-16. At the close of the financial year 2016-17, their share in revenues is expected to cross Rs 150 crore. Besides these two, News9, TV1, Gujarati and the Marathi channel filled the coffers with an amount slightly above Rs 50 crore. These are again projected to hit Rs 70 crore in 2016-17.

Considering Bahl’s Network 18 background, media watchers in the country will keenly await his next move with bated breath, which may well be the acquisition of TV9 Group. It’s not the first time that Bahl has exhibited interest in the television space post his exit from Network 18 which was acquired by Mukesh Ambani. Quint’s partnering with Bloomberg to initiate Bloomberg Quint is a case in point. But TV9’s acquisition will truly set the bar higher for Bahl, who is remembered for forging critical partnerships with foreign brands during his days at Network 18.


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