NDTV stocks change hands

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Mumbai, Apr 8: Media reports suggests that DE Shaw, the asset management giant which is famous for its hedge funds, is buying a significant minority stake in NDTV through the secondary market, i.e. stock exchange.

NDTV runs news channel like NDTV India and NDTV 24X7. The company had reported losses in four out of the five years between FY2005- FY2010.

Now, it is reported that DE Shaw aims to acquire 14.2% stake in NDTV, just short of the 15% mark which will make the open-offer mandatory.

This is expected to be routed through shares held by two other foreign institutional investors – Merrill Lynch and Nomura.

As per the block deal details available on the National Stock Exchange, Merrill Lynch purchased the stake of Goldman Sachs for Rs 39.09 crore, and Nomura Mauritius bought over the stake of GS Mace for Rs 30.85 crore, under two separate deals. The price of each stock under both the deal was Rs 76.55 per share.

According to the data available with Bombay Stock Exchange, Goldman Sachs Investments Mauritius and GS Mace Holdings were holding 7.92 per cent and 6.25 per cent respectively in NDTV at the end of December quarter.

Apparently DE Shaw had hit a rough patch with promoters of Hindi print media group Amar Ujala over an exit option for its investment. Some pundits have given this as the reason why Shaw is switching alliance and wants a pie in NDTV.

NDTV regaining confidence

NDTV had announced that it has sold 49% stake in the lifestyle business of the NDTV group for $40 million, which is a subsidiary, to Astro All Asia Network. The deal was announced on September 21, 2010. NDTV Lifestyle operates NDTV Good Times.

In November 2009, Scripps Network had signed an agreement to acquire 69% stake in NDTV"s lifestyle network – NDTV Lifestyle for $55-million deal. But in May 2010, NDTV had scrapped the deal according to a filing with the stock exchange.

Although the company did not disclose the reason for scrapping the deal, analysts were of the view that it had to do with the better performance of the company. That deal would have valued the channel at Rs 320 crore, less than Astro.

Media and private equity

In the media space itself, DE Shaw acquired stake in Amar Ujala, while US-based PE company Blackstone invested around Rs 225 crore in Jagran Media Network, which publishes Danik Jagran, last year. Earlier this year, DE Shaw also picked up a 49 per cent stake in Pegasus, an asset reconstruction company.

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