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As Zee-Reliance deal awaits govt approval, Katial handovers reins of TV biz

30-January-2018
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As Zee-Reliance deal awaits govt approval, Katial handovers reins of TV biz

The much-hyped deal between Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Capital and Subhash Chandra-owned Zee Group seems to be moving forward. Highly placed industry sources confirmed that the deal that has been in pipeline is now awaiting regulatory approvals.

Meanwhile, Tarun Katial, CEO Big FM, bid good bye to the TV industry after having been part of it for 19 years. On Saturday, Katial took to LinkedIn to share his feelings. He wrote: "A year into doing the handover - feeling removed from television broadcast and its opportunities and challenges! Zee is a great place for the channels and team to thrive! All the best! Thanks Television for my last 19years - think I did my best and my time!"

exchange4media tried reaching out to both ZEE and Reliance Capital for more details on the deal but there was no official comment. Both the stakeholders said the deal is awaiting regulatory approval.

In November 2016, in a statement, Reliance Capital, announced “value unlocking” in the radio and TV businesses to reduce the company’s debt by approx. Rs 1,900 crore ($ 283 million) upon final completion of stake sale transactions.

The radio broadcasting business, operated by Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd, holds 45 operational licences (issued under Phase II and migrated to Phase III) and 14 new licences (issued under Phase III).

Under the TV business, Zee was to acquire two operational general entertainment channels — BIG Magic and BIG Ganga — and four other TV licences. Big Magic is a comedy channel catering to Hindi speaking markets. BIG Ganga is a leading Bhojpuri entertainment channel catering to audiences in Bihar, Jharkhand and Purvanchal.

Due to the government’s lock-in norms, the acquisition of 59 FM radio licences was to be done in two stages.

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