In a filing to the BSE, TV Today Network has said that it is filing for an urgent writ petition in the High Court to quicken the sale of its radio business, which is run under the brand name of Oye FM, to ENIL (a part of the Times Group and the parent company of Radio Mirchi). The deal has been in limbo since an approval from the MIB is still awaited.
“In relation to the proposed sale of seven radio stations to Entertainment Network (India) Limited, since time is of essence and with approval of the MIB getting delayed, hence in order to expedite the matter, an urgent writ petition in the High Court is listed for hearing, to seek necessary relief,” read the company’s official statement.
The sale of Oye FM, which operates in seven cities, was first announced in February, though a clearance from MIB was pending.
TV Today Network seems to be keen to get rid of a non-performing unit, which has been operating in losses for some time. According to Q3’15 filing by TV Today, radio operations suffered a loss of Rs 1.94 crore. It also suffered losses of Rs 2.90 crore in Q3’14 and Rs 1.80 crore in Q2’15. The nine-month period results for 2015 showed a loss of Rs 6.30 crore compared with Rs 7.24-crore loss for the corresponding period last year. (All figures have been rounded off).
ENIL, for its part, would like to close the acquisition before Phase III auctions take place as it would then have more clarity on its auction strategy.
It has been learnt that the Ministry has put all acquisitions and deals on hold till the Phase III auctions, or at least the first set of auctions, are completed. This could be done to maximize the number of frequencies sold as the first set includes remnant frequencies from Phase II, including ones in Mumbai and Delhi.
How much of a difference will this filing in the HC make remains to be seen.