CNBC Asia To Have Strategic Stake In JV

New Delhi: | Updated: May 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
As it works out a way to cap the foreign holding at 26 per cent, news broadcasting joint venture CNBC India on Thursday announced that CNBC Asia and TV 18 would continue as partners after the corporate restructuring of CNBC India. CNBC India CEO Haresh Chawla said the channel, after restructuring, will be jointly branded and called CNBC-TV 18. As per the agreement, CNBC Asia Pacific will hold a strategic equity stake in the Indian registered broadcaster (TV 18 India).

At present, CNBC Asia holds 51 per cent and TV 18 49 per cent in CNBC India. The total foreign holding including FII, OCB, NRI in TV 18 is 10 per cent, CNBC India managing director Raghav Bahl said. In the new venture, the total foreign holding cannot exceed 26 per cent, as per government guidelines. Without elaborating on CNBC Asias proposed holding in the JV or on possible stakeholding scenarios, Mr Bahl said:Im not even saying that CNBC Asia will have 26 per cent in the joint venture.

As per government guidelines on uplinking of channels, CNBC Asia Pacific can hold no more than 26 per cent in the venture. But, details about the equity pattern in the new venture have still not been disclosed.

Besides CNBC Asia and TV 18, no third partner would be part of the deal, which is expected to be finalised in another 15 days or so. TV 18 is expected to invest around $1.5 m in state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities.

TV 18 has got the broadcasting licence from the government. The same will be used for uplinking CNBC-TV 18 from India. The channel has to fulfill conditions by June 26.

There are 32,000 shareholders in TV 18. According to officials, the listed company will reorganise its business in a way that captures 100 per cent of the channels enhanced value for the shareholders.

Recently, the government made it mandatory for television news channels wanting to uplink from India to cap their foreign equity at 26 per cent.