US's media giant Turner will acquire Prannoy Roy-promoted NDTV's entertainment channel Imagine for about Rs 546 crore, a deal that will help the Indian media group turn debt-free. While NDTV's 76% stake in NDTV Imagine would be given to Turner for $67 million (about Rs 314 crore), the Time Warner Company would acquire fresh equity worth $50 million to get 92% control of the entertainment channel launched last year.
The deal is expected to help NDTV tide over a financial crisis, as is reflected in the Rs 86 crore loss posted by the group during the quarter ending September 2009. This deal will enable NDTV to become debt free at the consolidated level. It will also provide NDTV Imagine with enough funds for operations.
As part of the deal, NDTV, through its subsidiary NDTV Networks, will sell its 76% stake in NDTV Imagine. NDTV Networks will retain 5% stake in the general entertainment channel before the issue of fresh shares. The deal is subject to approval of Turner Asia Pacific Venture's parent Time Warner Inc.
Last month, the media conglomerate said it will sell 69% stake in its lifestyle programming subsidiary NDTV Lifestyle, which runs NDTV GoodTimes, to US based Scripps Networks for $55 million. In October, NDTV had also bought back NBC Universal's 26% stake in its subsidiary NDTV Networks to consolidate its position.