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Blackstone eyes slot in NDTV firm

January 31, 2007 09:23 IST

Blackstone, one of the world's largest private equity funds, is negotiating with the NDTV group for a stake in NDTV Networks, a new company, as part of an investment consortium.

NDTV Networks plans to raise 0-160 million by offloading 25-30 per cent to the consortium, valuing the company at between 3 million and 0 million. The money raised will be used for new channels and businesses.

The stake sale will help NDTV Networks list on the London Alternative Investment Market. Jeffries International Ltd has been appointed merchant bankers to the issue.

NDTV group CEO K V L Narayan Rao said, "NDTV has no comments to offer beyond the published information on our results." Akhil Gupta, managing director of Blackstone Advisors India, declined comment, saying they only talked when a deal was struck.

Blackstone's latest move follows its investment of $275 million in Hyderabad-based Ushodaya Enterprises, owners of Eenadu and ETV, and Ramoji Rao Film City. This has been one of the largest investments by an equity fund in a media company in India.

Blackstone has publicly stated that it will invest over $1 billion in Indian companies and is looking specifically at the media sector.

NDTV Networks will invest $106 million of the cash in NDTV Imagine Ltd, a Hindi mass entertainment channel in which film director Karan Johar is a partner, and $25.3 million in NDTV Lifestyle Ltd, a channel dedicated to travel, food, shopping, health and wellness.

NDTV Networks also owns NDTV Labs, which develops technology and software solutions for TV broadcasting, NDTV Convergence, which owns and operates websites, and 50 per cent in NDTV Media Services Pvt Ltd, a joint venture with Genpact India Holdings, a media process outsourcing firm for overseas clients.
Surajeet Das Gupta & Shuchi Bansal in New Delhi
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