When Global Broadcast News (GBN) in a co-branding agreement with Turner International launched the general news channel, CNN-IBN, on December 17, 2005, there was no doubt that the network will be strongly pushing the new channel. In order to keep the channel in high spirits, GBN has raised Rs 400 million in partnership with IL&FS Investment Managers Ltd (IIML).
IL&FS has announced the conclusion of a Rs 400 million private equity-financing round through its Leverage India Fund for CNN-IBN. “News channels are an attractive segment of the Indian television market with the genre growing exponentially. We strongly believe that CNN-IBN with its high quality news is well positioned to become a leader in this segment. We are happy to be part of this venture and back an experienced promoter team,” said Shahzaad Dalal, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, IL&FS.
It may be recalled that in June 2005, the TV18 group had also raised Rs 55 crore to fund the new channel. The TV18 board had announced that it would consider a proposal to advance the date of outstanding warrants issued by the way of a rights issue in November 2004. The warrants consisted of two categories – Series A and B, with conversion periods of 18 months and 36 months, respectively. Each warrant was thus converted into one ordinary share of TV18 at a discount of 25 per cent to the prevailing market price.
Raghav Bahl, Director, GBN, said, “The support and funding that we have received from a strong investor like IL&FS puts GBN in a strong spot to build on its growing leadership position within the Indian broadcasting industry. We are delighted with the response CNN-IBN has received and this fund will be used for investments towards the channel’s expansion.”
This is indeed a timely move just ahead of the impending launch of another news channel, Times Now, as these funds will enable the channel flex its marketing muscle.