Independent News & Media, the UK-based newspaper, led by Tony O’Reilly, has acquired 26 per cent stake in the Jagran Group for around Rs 150 crore, confirmed Sanjay Gupta, CEO and Editor, Jagran Group.
According to the FDI regulations for the print media, foreign entities can buy shareholding up to a ceiling of 26 per cent in Indian newspapers and television channels and 74 per cent in non-news titles. “Some publications have gone below 26 per cent but we opted to go for 26 per cent,” Gupta said.
On the rationale behind the move, Gupta said, “We needed capital to fund our print operations. The options before us were to either take the IPO route or go in for FDI. We opted the latter.”
Elaborating further, Gupta said, “The entire money is to fund future growth, including new launches, and to consolidate our existing operations. However, all this is subject to the clearance by the Government of India. We believe that this process would add equity to our company and hold us in good stead for future projects in our print operation.”
Asked if the foreign partner will be involved in Jagran’s proposed television venture, Gupta replied, “Not at all.”
Gupta said it was too premature to disclose future projects as the group is still awaiting the Government’s green signal. “It’s an agreement that has just happened between the British group and us. It is too early to talk about projects. It will be decided once the new board comprising their team and ours is formed,” he said.