Raghav Bahl quits Network 18

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: May 31 2014, 02:50am hrs
Network18 Founder and Managing Director Raghav Bahl has quit the media group after agreeing to sell controlling stake to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) for Rs 4,000 crore.

A day after the deal was announced, Bahl in a letter to employees of the group said he and his wife Ritu are exiting from shareholding of the group he had founded in the early 1990s.

"Yesterday, Ritu and I effectively ended our entrepreneurial leadership of N(W)18 by agreeing to exit our shareholding," he said in the letter.

However, he said he "would be around to ensure a smooth transition".

Bahl did not answer phone calls made seeking comments.

On the new owner of the group, he said: "We are also delighted to welcome Mr Mukesh Ambani and RIL as the potential owners of Network18. Believe us, the group is in terrific hands. Mr Ambani is a visionary and truly good human being".

He assured the employees that they "have very good cause to be excited and optimistic about the future".

Yesterday, in the biggest ever deal in the Indian media sector, RIL had announced to acquire control in Network 18 Media & Investments Ltd, including its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast Ltd, for Rs 4,000 crore.

RIL board had approved funding of up to Rs 4,000 crore to Independent Media Trust (IMT), of which RIL is the sole beneficiary, for acquisition of control in Network 18 Media & Investments Ltd (NW18), including its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast Ltd (TV18).

The funding includes open offers to be made consequent to the acquisition.

IMT would use the funds to acquire control over NW18 and TV18 resulting in ownership of about 78 per cent in NW18 and 9 per cent in TV18 and to acquire shares tendered in the open offers.

NW18 is the owner of a suite of premier digital internet properties, e-commerce businesses and differentiated broadcast content.

This suite includes In.com, IBNLive.com, Moneycontrol.com, Firstpost.com, Cricketnext.in, Homeshop18.com, Bookmyshow.com; the broadcast channels include Colors, CNN-IBN, CNBC TV18, IBN7, CNBC Awaaz.

The announcement was preceded by resignations of top officials of Network18 group, including CEO B Sai Kumar and CFO RDS Bawa.