afaqs!

NBCU-NDTV deal to close by April

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | January 10, 2008
Roma Khanna, president, global networks and digital initiatives, NBCU, who also manages the group's international channels portfolio, will mentor NBCU's interest in the stake on completion of the transaction

The high & #BANNER1 & # profile alliances between Indian and international media have touched a new peak in the last few months with three big ticket associations, Viacom-Network18, Turner-Miditech and Disney-UTV, coming into being. Carrying forward the trend of media ties is NBC Universal's (NBCU) investment in the Prannoy Roy promoted New Delhi Television (NDTV) Ltd.

According to information received by agencyfaqs!, the rumoured association will turn into reality in the next few months. The two media players are expected to sign the agreement in April, as per senior sources within the industry. An announcement regarding the deal is expected within the week.

The US based NBCU, a joint venture between General Electric and Vivendi, will reportedly pick up 26 per cent stake (the maximum foreign investment allowed in media) in the entertainment division of NDTV Networks, which includes the soon to be launched Hindi general entertainment channel, NDTV Imagine; the recently launched lifestyle channel, NDTV Good Times; the digital arm, NDTV Convergence; NDTV Labs; and NDTV Emerging Markets (a division owned jointly by NDTV Ltd and NDTV Networks).

When agencyfaqs! contacted senior officials at NDTV, they neither confirmed the development nor denied it. Sources close to the deal have put its value on the higher side of $100 million.

According to media watchers, the deal will give NBCU a significant foothold in multiple businesses in line with its aggressive expansion plans outside the US. The acquisition by NBCU, once through, will represent another step forward in its strategic commitment, announced by Zucker in April 2007, to more than double the size of its international operations in the next two to three years.

Roma Khanna, president, global networks and digital initiatives, NBCU, who also manages the group's international channels portfolio, will mentor NBCU's interest in the stake on completion of the transaction. With its acquisition of Sparrowhawk Media in December 2007, NBCU had announced a new organisation for its global networks division in order to support growth for its various brands under Khanna's leadership.

NBC Universal was formed in May 2004 by combining General Electric's NBC with Vivendi Universal Entertainment (part of the French media group, Vivendi SA). GE owns 80 per cent of NBCU, and the remaining 20 per cent is owned by Vivendi SA. The company develops, produces and markets entertainment, news and information for a global customer base.

NBCU owns and operates a US TV network, numerous cable networks, a group of local stations in the US, motion picture companies, a number of television production companies, and multiple theme parks. The Universal Music Group was not included in the 2004 deal and is not part of NBCU.

Jeff Zucker was named president and CEO of NBCU on February 6, 2007, replacing Bob Wright, who remains chairman of NBC Universal and vice-chairman of General Electric.

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