From Musk's Twitter buyout to Adani's NDTV acquisition: 5 big media deals of 2022

It was an eventful year with industrialists acquiring big media properties and pandemic-led woes bringing rivals together

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Dec 28, 2022 8:36 AM  | 4 min read
media deals

Mergers and acquisitions remained the flavour of the media industry in 2022. While the richest industrialists acquired big media houses, the pandemic-led restrictions and economic constraints forced some rivals to join hands to sail through the turbulent times. The media landscape of 2023 will be bit different thanks to these five deals that rocked the industry. 

  1. Elon Musk buys Twitter 

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and the world’s richest person, shocked the world in April by announcing his interest to buy the social media platform Twitter. 

After several ups and downs in the deal, replete with withdrawn offers, lawsuits, allegations, verification worries, and many other issues, he eventually completed the deal in October by shelling out $44 billion to acquire the microblogging platform. 

Ever since his takeover, almost half of the Twitter workforce, including the boss, Parag Agrawal and top legal and policy executive, Vijaya Gadde, have been fired.

Musk has announced several new features and policies for Twitter and has kept his followers engaged on the platform. 

  1.  Adani group takes over NDTV 

Radhika and Prannoy Roy, the founders of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV, market cap approx Rs 2,100 cr), shocked the media industry this year by selling their majority stakes to the Adani Group headed by India’s richest person Gautam Adani. 

The departure of the Roys marks a significant turning point for the broadcaster that played a pivotal role in the growth of news television in India. 

Adani group first bought out a company backed by the founders, acquired more shares from the open market and then got the majority of the shares held by the couple. 

Adani Group now owns a 64.71% stake in the media group. The Roys will continue to own 5% of NDTV.  

  1.  SONY-ZEE Merger gets approvals  

India’s two leading media groups Sony and Zee cleared the deck for the merger by getting major approvals in 2022. The merger was first announced in 2021. The deal size is believed to be to the tune of $10 billion. 

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently approved the Sony-Zee merger with slight modifications, which will see the latter selling three of its channels to allay potential competition concerns. 

The merger deal was subsequently approved by a majority of ZEEL shareholders, Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange as well. 

However, some of their lenders have recently approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against the deal. Scheduled to take place on Thursday 12th January 2023, the tribunal has permitted IndusInd Bank, Axis Finance and IDBI Bank to file applications for intervening in the proposed merger.

  1.  PVR-INOX merger 

The merger between the country’s top two multiplex chains — PVR Limited and INOX Leisure — brought the erstwhile rivals together this October making them the largest multiplex chain in the country with more than 1,500 screens. 

The deal is believed to be worth $2 billion. 

PVR currently operates 871 screens, spread over 181 properties across 73 cities in India. INOX operates 675 screens through 160 properties in 72 cities. 

Analysts estimate the combine will command a 50 per cent share among multiplex screens and 16 per cent in the overall market including single screens. After the merger, the combined entity plans to open 200 new screens every year under the brand name PVR-INOX rather than refurbishing old properties. A CAPEX of Rs 500 crore will be pumped into setting up the new screens.   

  1.  Moj and MX TakaTak Merger

Times Internet’s MX TakaTak and ShareChat’s Moj joined hands early this year to become India’s largest short-form video platform — a country where TikTok is still banned. The deal is believed to be worth $700 million. 

MX TakaTak, which was launched by Times Internet in July 2020, had reportedly reached 150 million MAUs, across 10 languages when the deal was inked. 

It will continue to function as a separate platform for now, but the two platforms’ creator base, content supply and recommendation algorithms are being integrated.

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BBC to pay Rs 40 crore to make up for their tax evasion in India-Reports

The broadcaster has reportedly admitted that they evaded taxes in India from 2016-22

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 6, 2023 9:44 AM   |   1 min read


After tax authorities claimed they have  uncovered irregularities in the BBC's accounting books in India, now The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reportedly admitted that they evaded taxes in India and are now committing to pay Rs 40 crores in tax arrears. 

According to a report by, the BBC has agreed to cough up Rs 40 crore to make up for their tax evasion over a period of almost 6 years – from 2016 to 2022.

It must be noted that in February 2023, the BBC offices were surveyed by tax authorities for 3 days. After the survey, the Finance Ministry had issued a statement explaining the depth of tax fraud committed by the BBC.

The statement said that the income/profits shown by various group entities under BBC India do not match their scale of operations in India, as the quantity of content in India is substantial. In the raid by the Income tax department, which has been described as a survey, several pieces of evidence were found that show that tax has not been paid on certain remittances which have not been disclosed as income in India by the foreign entities of the group.

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CM Eknath Shinde to unveil bust of Pradeep Guha on the media legend's birth anniversary

The sculpture will be soon installed at Pradeep Guha Chowk on DN Road, Mumbai

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 5, 2023 3:47 PM   |   1 min read

Pradeep Guha

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Eknath Shinde will be unveiling the bust of celebrated media personality and film producer Pradeep Guha at 6 pm on June 6, which is his birth anniversary. Guha, fondly known as PG, passed away on 21 August 2021 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

The bust will be unveiled at the Cricket Club of India and be installed after a few days at the Pradeep Guha Chowk on DN Road, the lane outside the iconic Times of India building, an organisation he was associated with for close to three decades.

Guha was also associated with many industry bodies during his career with TOI. He was the President of the Indian Newspaper Society; Chairman of National Readership Studies Council; President of Advertising Club Bombay; Chairman of Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA); and later, the first Chairman of the Broadcast Audience Research Council.

He also served as the CEO of ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and Managing Director of 9X Media Private Limited.

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Creativeland Asia Network acquires 62% stake in London-based Creators Inc

The total deal value of this acquisition is three million pounds

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 1, 2023 5:19 PM   |   3 min read


On its 16th anniversary, CLAN announced Creativeland Studio's acquisition of London-based Creators Inc – in a total deal value exceeding UK £3 million (three million pounds) to solidify its entry into international long and short content production and the expansion of CLAN's global footprint aligned to its vision of building a global creative super ecosystem.

Further, Creativeland Asia Network (CLAN) has launched Creativeland Studios to focus on the growth of its long and short-format cinema and tv content offering – focussing on creating, producing and distributing high-end films, documentaries, television series and audio content.

With this acquisition, Creativeland Studios has consolidated ten active slates, including two titles in production and now will have over 50 titles in its pipeline.

Creators Inc. is a unique long and short format production house with a roster of directors that includes Oscar, Emmy & BAFTA-winning directors such as Guy Ritchie, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Sarah Gavron, Philip Barantini, Colin Tilley, Mark Osborne and many others.

Creators Inc., founded and led by Jani Guest, brings together award-winning industry specialists from advertising, film and television. Creators Inc. use various synergies across these industries to position themselves worldwide at the top of the production market across all formats.

On the back of this acquisition – Creativeland Asia Network has begun its successful foray into CLA’s creative, technology, marketing & media services ecosystem to the global market.

Sajan Raj Kurup's vision for Creativeland Studios is to provide a platform for filmmakers and creators to express their vision and bring their ideas and unique stories to viewers. The acquisition of Creators Inc is a significant step in achieving that vision. With this new global acquisition – the possibilities are endless, and CLAN is ready to take on the entertainment world.

Sajan Raj Kurup, Founder & Chairman of CLAN, said, “At Creativeland Asia – we are on a passionate journey to create a formidable creative infrastructure for the new world where media, technology, creativity and humanity will come together to curate a more entertained life. The core strategic insight for this acquisition is to build on our ability to bring brands, content and talent together – through a consolidated platform. Today, more than ever before, we recognise that content plays a pivotal role in keeping us connected, informed and entertained.”

Jani Guest, Founder & CEO of Creators Inc, said, “Creators Inc. places its incredible directorial talent at the heart of the company. The partnership with Raj and CLA allows us to accelerate the development and production of stories - created by our talent - to entertain, move, and impact positive change. I could not have wished for a better partner as we move forward to achieve our shared visions and goals.

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Media executives Rahul Sood and Rohit Jaiswal launch Brandwith

The company will focus on distribution and marketing for global OTTs in India and South Asia

By Ruhail Amin | May 31, 2023 1:31 PM   |   1 min read


Rahul Sood, former MD of BBC India & South Asia, and Rohit Jaiswal, Ex VP & Head of NDTV Distribution have launched Brandwith in India, covering India and the South Asian region.

Brandwith is the representative and distributor of OTT streaming services like Hallmark Movies Now, Curiosity Stream, PBS Kids, Viaplay, and several other highly differentiated brands, including soon to launch Good Times SVOD. Since Brandwith’s inception in the Asia Pacific Region in 2017, the driving force has been to provide the world’s leading brands across genres like movies, general entertainment, factual entertainment, kids, food, lifestyle and sports in the evolving OTT landscape. 

“With paid video subscriptions having reached 99 million in 2022, across almost 45 million households in India, the success of which will require establishing a durable subscriber relationship, our vision is to aid OTT aggregators and their viewers with a diversified offering of the world’s leading streaming services to help increase ARPU and reduce churn,” said Rahul Sood, Founder & MD, Brandwith India.

 “The thoughtfully curated portfolio of brands will help OTT aggregators segment their audience, and super serve the English audience base in India, which has increased from 19m pre-pandemic to 42.7m now as per the latest report by Ormax Media,” he added.

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OTT space is ripe for aggregating: Piyush Gupta, HT Media

During the Q4 earnings call, Group CFO Gupta stated that the company has not yet gone back to its pre-covid prices in Delhi and Bombay; he also announced launch of OTTPlay

By exchange4media Staff | May 31, 2023 8:41 AM   |   5 min read

Piyush Gupta

Apart from just the input cost, one of the other big problems that have been plaguing HT Media is yields, said Piyush Gupta, Group CFO, HT Media. Answering one of the investors during the Q4 earnings call about the results, Gupta said, “The pricing that we had pre-Covid, if you talk about HT in big markets of Delhi and Bombay still has not come back. As a matter of fact, in places it is short by 20% - 25%. Now that's really what is hampering our revenue and taking away the operating leverage from the P&L.”

He added, “Now, as we embark on the next fiscal year, we've already completed the month of May nearly. There's a big program on yield improvement that we have put in place, with which we are hoping to unlock the value and go back to our pre-Covid yields. The paper prices, of course, are coming down, which you will see translating into EBITDA, and therefore PBT and PAT in the coming year. But with the revenue uptick you will see the profitably come back to a pre-Covid, at a very robust level.”

For Q4 FY23 company’s total revenue, stacked to Rs 494 crore, as against Rs 456 crore same period last year, growth of 8%. EBITDA is, however, substantially down 75% primarily due to certain investments that they are making in OTTPlay and the elevated newsprint cost which have hampered us in this quarter. PBT margin, as a consequence, came to a loss of Rs 34 crore against Rs 10 crore earlier and net cash, however, still remains reasonably strong at Rs 935 crore which is a decline of 14%.

"On a full year basis company revenue stacked to Rs 1,862 crore, which is a growth of 11%. EBITDA however, because of the same reason which plagued us in Q4 came in at Rs 13 crore, which is a sharp decline. PBT, therefore, came at a loss of Rs 156 crore and net cash at Rs 935 crore which I have articulated earlier," said Gupta. “Now, if you go by business unit, we look at our print business. On the Print business our ad revenues for the quarter came at Rs 269 crore, a growth of 8%, with circulation revenue growing 12% at Rs 60 crore. Operating revenue therefore at Rs 374 crore, a 5% growth, and operating EBITDA declined by 65% to Rs 15 crore.”

In English, in Q4 FY23 the ad revenue grew 17% to Rs 154 crore. On a full year basis, the growth was 15% at Rs 588 crore. Circulation revenue at Rs 16 crore, a growth of 64%, and for the full year it is nearly doubling itself from Rs 28 crore to Rs 54 crore. Moving on to Hindi, for the quarter our ad revenue came flat at about Rs 116 crore. On a y-o-y basis it was a growth of 8% at Rs 474 crore. Circulation revenue again flat on a quarterly basis, on a full-year basis there was a marginal increase of 5%. 

According to him, for radio business quarterly revenues came at Rs 36 crore, which is an 18% increase. Operating EBITDA, however, came in negative as opposed to Rs 1 crore in the same period last year. The full year, however, was a very different picture. “The full year we saw our revenue soaring 42% at Rs 144 crore, as against Rs 101 crore earlier and operating EBITDA came at Rs 6 crore.”

He said, “We have taken an impairment in the standalone results, which is all consequent to our radio performance. Though the Radio performance has substantially improved this quarter, and the growth is close to 40%. But given the fact, impairment testings have to be done this quarter, there is a substantial impairment which has come. This is all on our Radio One business and with this and the growth that we are seeing in Radio, we are very hopeful that this is the last time that we have seen this impairment, and from here on Radio will grow from strength to strength. If you look at various other Radio operators, their profitability, indeed, has also been impacted. And you know this is one sector which is directly linked to the performance of various MSMEs and what Covid did to MSMEs, is taking a slightly longer time to recover. But we are very hopeful now that we have seen a 40% growth in this year. Next year we will again have a stupendous year, and a profitable year on our Radio segment.”

Digital businesses in HT Media Group remained flat, with the top line of Rs 32 crore and a bottom line of Rs (22) crore in Q4 FY23. On a full year basis, again, it was flat at Rs 133 crore, with the bottom line of Rs (75) crore.

Gupta also spoke about OTTPlay, which has been in beta stage for about 6 to 9 months. "Now, since we've understood this space, we have decided to commercially launch this thing. What exactly is OTTPlay? As you understand OTT is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Indian media and entertainment industry, it is growing at somewhere between 18%- 20%, as against the other media properties which are growing anywhere between 10% - 15%. If you look at subscription video on demand, that side is expected to reach about INR 16,000 to INR 17,000 crore by 2026, and it is growing at a very healthy rate. This space is now ripe for aggregating," he said.

He concluded, “We've been working in this place for quite some time, and now that we have got the proof of concept, we are investing behind this function which is sitting in our Digital segment of the business and you will see results coming out in this year. 

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Tribes group acquires V-Square Media to create media entity - praNetR Tribes

V Square Media is a Bengaluru-based branding, media and marketing agency

By exchange4media Staff | May 29, 2023 2:59 PM   |   2 min read

praNetR Tribes

Tribes Group, an independent full-service media and advertising group, has acquired Bengaluru-based V Square Media, a branding, media, and marketing agency, and created a new entity - praNetR Tribes.

This acquisition brings together the complementary strengths and expertise of both companies, paving the way for a new era of innovation and growth. By harnessing their collective strengths, praNetr Tribes aims to deliver unparalleled content, services, and experiences to audiences worldwide.

This strategic acquisition will fuel the development of groundbreaking initiatives, leveraging cutting-edge technology and creative storytelling to engage audiences across multiple platforms. With an unwavering commitment to quality content, insightful narratives, and captivating entertainment, the new entity will redefine the media landscape. The acquisition is expected to unlock synergies, drive operational efficiencies, and create a solid foundation for sustained success. By integrating talent, resources, and distribution networks, the combined entity will be better positioned to meet the evolving needs and preferences of audiences, advertisers, and partners.

Recognising the fragmented nature of the ad production industry, praNetR Tribes presents an integrated platform for specialists and technicians to collaborate and work efficiently on projects in conjunction with brands and talent. The leadership teams of both organizations will work collaboratively to ensure a seamless integration and maximize the potential of the acquisition.

On the launch of praNetR Tribes, Gour Gupta, Chairman of Tribes Communication, shares his thoughts, saying, "Together, we will leverage our collective strengths to deliver innovative and compelling content that resonates with audiences globally. This acquisition is a testament to our shared commitment to excellence and our vision for the future of media.”

Lokesh Kumar, CEO of praNetR, comments on the new venture, “This acquisition is a transformative step that will elevate our collective impact on the media industry. By combining forces, we will unlock new opportunities, accelerate growth, and provide our audiences with unparalleled content experiences. We look forward to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead."

Headquartered in Bengaluru, praNetR Tribes operates across markets in India and abroad through the extensive Tribes Communications network.

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HT Media consolidated revenue up 8.3% at Rs 494 cr in Q4 aided by growth in print & radio

Ad revenue from the company’s print business grew 8% at Rs 269 cr

By exchange4media Staff | May 19, 2023 8:06 AM   |   2 min read

HT Media

HT Media Group reported a 8.3% rise in the fourth quarter with the consolidated total revenue at Rs 494 crore as compared to Rs 456 crore in the same quarter last year. The company reported a loss before tax of Rs 34 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2023, versus a profit before tax of Rs 10 crore in the year-ago period.

The rise in revenue was supported by continued growth in print and radio segments, while the margin was impacted due to higher newsprint prices and investment in new business in the digital segment.

Commenting on the full-year results, Shobhana Bhartia Chairperson and Editorial Director of HT Media Ltd. & Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd said, “Geopolitical strife hampered supply lines across businesses and impacted raw material costs, especially in the first half of the year. The second half of the year witnessed a relatively subdued festive season on account of sluggish retail spending but the year ended with an uptick in business sentiment in our key segments and a slight softening in raw material prices.”

Ad revenue from the company’s print business grew 8% at Rs 269 crore for the quarter while on a full-year basis, it grew 12% from a year ago. Improvement in ad revenue on a full-year basis primarily led by ad volume and growth in both English and Hindi businesses.

The radio segment also saw an 18% rise in operating revenue in the quarter to Rs 36 crore.

Bhartia said, “Indian OTT space is one of the fastest growing pillars of the Media & Entertainment industry. Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd. looks to tap this potential with the launch of, a platform that aggregates OTT content, with a focus on abundance, convenience, personalisation, and affordability.”

“In the current fiscal, we are focused on building on our growth momentum from last year as we navigate the larger macro environment as well as the evolving media ecosystem. As always, our endeavor is to be a source of credible news and engaging content for our audiences,” she added.

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