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ADAG Arm Buys Out Bollywood Music Channel Imagine Showbiz

12 January, 2011

Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) has acquired 100% interest in Bollywood music channel Imagine Showbiz from Cinestar Advertising (CAPL), owned by Abhimanyu Singh, for at an undisclosed amount. As a part of this transaction, CAPL recently bought 51% stake from its joint venture partner Turner International, a Time Warner Company, and then sold the entire stake to RBNL.

The acquisition will be done through RBNL’s wholly owned subsidiary Reliance Television Pvt Ltd.  The channel is expected to be rebranded under Reliance Big banner.

According to industry sources, the value of the deal is estimated between Rs 15-20 crores. When contacted, an RBNL spokesperson declined to comment.

Imagine Showbiz was launched by the NDTV Group in 2008 as a 51:49 JV with Cinestar. The 51% in Imagine Showbiz was owned by NDTV Imagine Ltd. Later NDTV sold NDTV Imagine Ltd, which has another Hindi General Entertainment Channel to Turner International. Showbiz continued to be a joint venture with Turner holding 51%  and the rest by Cinestar Advertising , owned by Abhimanyu Singh.

But later, Turner showed interest in selling its stake. Turner will now entirely focus on its Hindi general entertainment channel, Imagine TV.

With this transaction, Cinestar is also exiting from the broadcasting business and will focus entirely on content creation, a company official said. Abhimanyu Singh, the owner of Cinestar, owns a production company named Contiloe.

“We are confident of building the Channel into a robust entertainment option with novel programming enhancements, while offering an exciting platform for marketers.” Tarun Katial, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd. Said.

“This proposed acquisition is in line with the overall strategy to create ownership of multi-media consumer touch-points. It will further strengthen our television portfolio, from the English space into the Hindi entertainment space. This business deal seems a natural choice, given the seamless business fit, spanning across our verticals of radio, intellectual properties and digital along with the Group synergies,” he said.

The size of the Hindi music broadcasting segment is pegged at around Rs 300-350 crore, according to analysts.  MTV and Channel V will be the key competitors of Imagine Showbiz.

This acquisition will fit excellently into the overall business strategy of RBNL, leveraging synergies with its radio arm – 92.7 BIG FM, its Intellectual Property arm – BIG Live and its integrated sales offering through BIG Connect, a company statement said.

RBNL is a multi-media entity with presence across the verticals of radio, out of home, experiential marketing, digital and has recently made its foray into the television industry through a 50:50 joint venture with US’s No 1 Television Broadcaster, CBS Studios International. BIG CBS – the television foray of the Group, will see the launch of three English entertainment channels in India.


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ADAG Arm Buys Out Bollywood Music Channel Imagine Showbiz

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