TV18 may house IBN18 in restructuring plan

Founder-promoter Raghav Bahl is toying with the idea of moving IBN18 to TV18 in a restructuring plan that aims to bring the TV news businesses under one roof.

Web18 and Infomedia18, in a related plan, would move to Network18. The entities under Network18 will also be Studio18, The Indian Film Company and HomeShop18.
The idea is to have the TV news business under TV18 and the other activities under Network18.

“IBN18 is likely to merge with TV18. Web18 and Infomedia will shift to Network18. But all this is still at an early planning stage. External investors will have to agree to the idea,” say multiple sources familiar with the development.

thesuccessor.com had earlier reported that Bahl was planning to dissolve the complex cross-holdings so that the valuations could be captured well.
The Group also plans to divest its holdings in Den Networks and Yatra Online Pvt Ltd. The Group holds 10 per cent in Den, one of the leading multi-system operators in the country, and 26 per cent in Yatra.

Capital18, the private equity outfit residing in TV18, will also exit from its investments in a phased manner.

“The plan is to retire debt. Capital18 has made investments to the tune of Rs 2.7 billion,” sources say.

The current consolidated gross debt is Rs 20 billion while the net debt stands at Rs 8 billion.

Web18 has shed its plans to list. “The preliminary contemplation of listing Viacom18 is also dropped,” sources say.

The Group plans to take its Ebitda to Rs 4 billion by FY’12 even as the fund-raising activities are complete.

While Bahl could not be contacted, Network18 Group CEO Haresh Chawla declined to comment on any plans to restructure the businesses.

Meanwhile, Network18 has increased its holding in TV18 from 51 per cent to 59 per cent and in IBN18 from 51 per cent to 57 per cent.

The listed entities under the group include TV18, IBN18, Network18 and Infomedia18. Besides running general news channels, IBN18 holds 50 per cent in Viacom18.

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