Time Warner to buy NDTV Imagine for $126.5 million

Time Warner Inc said Thursday it has agreed to invest $126.5 million and acquire 92 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine Ltd.

The acquisition of NDTV Imagine from NDTV Networks Plc, an indirect subsidiary of NDTV Ltd, will be made by Turner Asia Pacific Ventures (TAPV), a Time Warner company.

The transaction includes the secondary purchase of 87.4 per cent stake in Imagine from NDTV Networks Plc and another minority shareholder, as well as a $50 million primary capital infusion for the funding of the business at the acquisition’s closing.

The other eight per cent stake will be held by Imagine’s management, participants in an employee stock ownership plan and NDTV Networks Plc.

After the completion of the transaction, once regulatory approvals are received, Imagine will continue to be led by CEO Sameer Nair. The existing core team will work in tandem with Turner’s senior management.

For Turner, Imagine will become a key part of its operations in the Asia-Pacific region, and it will be part of its bouquet that also contains channels like Cartoon Network, Pogo, CNN International, WB, HBO and TCM.

Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific (TBSAP) president Steve Marcopoto says, “India continues to be a key priority for us. Our accelerated pace of investment here underscores both our commitment to this dynamic market and our view of India’s compelling long-term potential.”

NDTV Ltd chairman Prannoy Roy added, “For NDTV, this marks the final stage and the successful conclusion of the restructuring of its subsidiary, NDTV Networks, plc. As a result of this restructuring, the NDTV Group will be in a position to be cash-surplus and debt-free on a consolidated basis.”

Turner also has several partnerships in India, including those with Zee Entertainment and Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) for distribution company Zee Turner Ltd; IBN18 for the co-branded English news channel CNN IBN; and the Alva Brothers for a minority stake in production house Miditech and Hindi general entertainment channel, Real.

BofA Merrill Lynch served as financial adviser to Time Warner on this transaction.

Earlier, NDTV had announced the total transaction size is $117 million and involves a sale of 76 per cent of NDTV Imagine to Turner for a consideration of $67 million together with the subscription to fresh shares in Imagine by TAPV for $50 million.

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