Turner Asia, a unit of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), today said it has agreed in principle to acquire a 92% stake in general entertainment channel NDTV Imagine.
Turner will buy a 76% stake from NDTV Networks Plc. for $67 million and will also invest $50 million in the business against a fresh issue of shares.
We reported in October that Time Warner was close to acquiring about a 90% stake in NDTV Imagine.
NDTV Networks Plc., an offshore holding company for the non-news businesses of the NDTV Group, will hold 5% in NDTV Imagine till the fresh issue of shares, post which, it will get diluted down to about 3%. Turner will almost certainly rebrand the channel, though the details of the timing and manner of the process could not be learned. Turner is buying the remaining stake from key employees and associates. NDTV, together with employees, will then collectively be restricted to an 8% stake.
“We have completed the four-step restructuring of NDTV Networks,” said CEO Vikram Chandra. “First we bought out NBCU, then we executed the strategically critical move of paying back the bond holders. Then we inked the lifestyle business alliance with Scripps, which gave us access to expertise and capital. And now we have completed the sale of Imagine. Once the process is completed, the NDTV Group will be cash surplus and debt free on a consolidated basis,” Chandra added.
Correction: We incorrectly reported earlier that NDTV was fully exiting the business. It will hold 5% after the stake sale and will be diluted down to about 3% post the fresh issue of shares. The error was mine.