Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled TV18 Broadcast Ltd has gained a majority stake in Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, valuing the joint venture between the US-based Viacom, Inc. and Network18 Group at $2 billion (Rs 12,700 crore).
TV18 acquired 1% in Viacom18 for $20 million from the foreign partner Viacom to raise its stake to 51%, the companies said in a joint statement. The transaction will be completed within 30 days, it added.
Viacom18 started as a broadcast business with three channels -- MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 -- in 2007. It currently has 44 television channels across 80 countries in six languages, and has diversified into five lines: Broadcast, digital, films, merchandise, and live events. The joint venture reported total revenues of Rs 3040.7 crore for the financial year ended 31 March 2017, clocking over 40 times growth since its inception.
Viacom and Viacom18 have also extended the brands and content licence agreements by 10 years, the statement said. Viacom continues to hold 49% in Viacom18, the statement added.
"Viacom remains strongly committed to our Viacom18 joint venture with the Network18 Group and we are retaining the vast majority of our ownership stake in the company," said David Lynn, chief executive officer (CEO), Viacom International Media Networks.
Adil Zainulbhai, chairman, Network18, said the transaction further enables Viacom18’s integration into the broadcast and digital spaces.
Sudhanshu Vats, group CEO, Viacom18, said this development will help the joint venture to leverage deeper synergies with Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, headed by Mukesh Ambani.
Viacom18 also operates streaming platform VOOT, and produces and distributes films through Viacom18 Motion Pictures.