Less than a month after Times of India picked up 100 per cent stake in Vijayanand Printers Ltd, publishers of Vijaya Karnataka, Vijay Times, and Usha Kirana, rumours are flying thick and strong about a possible buyout of Sandesh by Times of India in Gujarat. However, both the publishing houses have vehemently denied any such development, and instead have said that there could be some kind of “business cooperation arrangement” between the two.
When asked about the development, Ravi Dhariwal, Executive Director, TOI, Delhi, said, “We are looking at the best possible way of cooperation, where the strength of both the publications can be used to add value to our readers and will be mutually beneficial.”
When asked what kind of ‘cooperation’, Dhariwal replied, “It could be in terms of content sharing or sharing the circulation.” He, however, refused to elaborate further.
There are also reports that Times of India is also looking for printing synergy with Sandesh.
A senior source in Sandesh, while refuting any such development, maintained that there was no exchange of any kind of equity in this ‘business cooperation’. The sources further said that the nitty gritty of the deal was still being worked out on the premise to find a synergy between both the publications, whereby the strengths of both could be used to the maximum.
It may be recalled that Sandesh was relaunched in December 2005 with a new positioning – ‘Suprabhat Gujarat’ – and the aim of broadbasing its readership. The change was brought to cater to the needs of the new generation. In its new avatar, Sandesh has been sporting a new masthead, layout, style of pagination, columns, contributors and a focused editorial mix. It also introduced 30 supplements in a month on different topics for the first time in Gujarati journalism. Sandesh is published from Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.