Summary:

This is big news: Bennett, Coleman & Co – better known as the Time of India group – is planning for an IPO, reports Business Standard. Ravi…

This is big news: Bennett, Coleman & Co – better known as the Time of India group – is planning for an IPO, reports Business Standard. Ravi Dhariwal, CEO of BCCL has told BS that an IPO is still being debated, and nothing as been decided yet – neither the timing, nor the size of the issue. As per the report, the company had profits of Rs. 1200 crores last fiscal, while I’d heard about Rs. 950-960 crores in profit for 2006-07. A valuation of Rs. 120,000 crores ($30 billion) is being talked about, at almost 30 times revenues. More at BS.

BCCL has diluted equity in individual businesses that are a part of the group:

– Zoom Entertainment Television: 25 percent to Merrill Lynch for $30 million; valuation of $120 million [more]
— ENIL (Radio Mirchi, Times OOH) – BCCL owns 73.2 percent; raised Rs. 194.4 cr via an IPO [link/ Financials]
— Times Internet Ltd : raised $7 million from Westbridge Capital (now Sequoia Capital India)…what happened to that IPO? [more]

Other companies that are a part of the group include Times Global Broadcasting (Times Now), Times Business Solutions…there are newspaper joint ventures with Hindustan Times, a magazine JV with the BBC, and then there’s the investment company Times Private Treaties, with stakes in (reportedly) 175 companies, some of them listed. The group has 6 daily newspapers, including the Times of India, the Economic Times, the Mumbai Mirror, and others. Strangely enough, some as saying that the IPO is maybe a means to retain senior editors, but that’s appears to be unlikely…people in the Times Group make no bones about the fact that marketing that drives their media business, not editorial.

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