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Network18 buys into Infomedia India; stake to go up to 53%

13-December-2007
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Network18 buys into Infomedia India; stake to go up to 53%

Television Eighteen India Ltd (recently renamed Network18) has announced the acquisition of at least 53 per cent stake in Infomedia India Ltd, a publication company from an ICICI Venture managed fund. The stake will be purchased in a phased manner -- 40 per cent immediately, followed by an open offer for 20 per cent of Infomedia’s equity.

In the event that the open offer does not garner enough response, then the company has the right to purchase such number of shares from the ICICI Venture managed fund so as to augment Network 18’s stake to at least 53 per cent. The transaction is subject to statutory and regulatory clearances, wherever necessary.

Television Eighteen India has acquired the 40 per cent stake for a total purchase consideration of Rs 178 crore. This acquisition would enable the company to enter the fast growing publication businesses. It will also benefit from the cross-media leverage of its existing brands. YES Bank was the exclusive financial advisor to ICICI Venture Ltd and BMR Advisors assisted the company in the transaction.

Infomedia India Ltd has further agreed to issue 50 lakh warrants to Television Eighteen India Ltd and 10 lakh warrants to the ICICI Venture managed fund. This issue is as per SEBI pricing norms and the fresh infusion of funds will be used to propel further growth in Infomedia.

Raghav Bahl, Managing Director, Network 18, said, “This acquisition signifies our commitment to being an integrated player in the media and publishing space. It has come at an opportune time and will significantly accelerate our publishing growth plans.”

Haresh Chawla, Group CEO, Network 18, said, “Infomedia has carved a niche for itself with its exciting array of publishing assets and national footprint. The fresh infusion of funds, combined with the strong management team at Infomedia, will form a potent combination, thereby enabling the company to significantly leverage Network 18’s strengths in the television, Internet and mobile businesses.”

Infomedia is one of the first leveraged buyouts in India led by ICICI Venture. The sale process of ICICI Venture’s stake had witnessed strong interest from several strategic and financial investors, including international majors. ICICI Venture’s Managing Director and CEO, Renuka Ramnath, said, “This is definitely a landmark deal in the fast growing media and publishing space between two leading players in the industry. Since the buyout, we have worked hard with the management to build a unique business model that is profitable and scalable. We believe that Infomedia is an excellent platform for TV Eighteen to meet its leadership aspirations in the media and publication space.”

This is the second leveraged buyout exit by ICICI Venture in the recent past, earlier one being Ace Refractories.

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