Zee Group To Buy TV9?

Hyderabad: It is reliably learnt that the Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCL) that has been running popular news channel TV 9 is trying to sell the channel. The main share holder in the company, Srini Raju, a venture capitalist (People’s Capital) has been negotiating with Zee group. The price that is being discussed is around Rs 850 crore.

Saif investments, a US based company, has 25 percent of the stakes in ABCL. Ravichandran Adusumilli is the Managing Partner and head of India operations. Ravi Sannareddy and Sriniraju were together at Satyam before Ramalingaraju had fallen on bad days. They are equal shareholders in ABCL at the beginning. Ravi Prakash was given a sweat share.

ABCL has TV 9 in English, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Jai Telangana, second Telugu channel besides TV9- a total of seven channels in its kitty. ABCL has been trying to dispose off the TV division for some time. The promoters had discussions earlier with prospective buyers.

Zee Group is cash rich now after it sold Zee Sports to Soni Group for Rs 2,500 crore recently. Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra is reportedly close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. TV9 has vast viewership in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka which are very important States for the BJP. Even Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh are being eyed by the BJP leadership for gaining a foothold.

A number one channel in both the States would help the BJP leaders who have no media support so far. Even otherwise, it makes business sense to buy the popular channel. Srini Raju has not been very comfortable with the channel. He always maintained a low profile and allowed CEO Ravi Prakash to hog the limelight.

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