Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between Viacom Inc and IBN 18 Broadcast Ltd, is looking to buyout London’s AIM-listed firm The Indian Film Company (TIFC). Network 18 Media & Investments and its affiliates own over 80% in TIFC and the firm has agreed to sell its stake in the proposed offer by a JV firm co-promoted by its own subsidiary IBN 18.
In a statement Viacom 18 said as part of its planned expansion in entertainment space and acquisition of synergistic content it is contemplating a voluntary offer for the issued share capital of TIFC. The proposed offer is subject to certain conditions that have not been disclosed. TIFC has a market cap of £22.8 million.
This is the second attempt by Network 18 group to buyout TIFC completely. Last year TIFC had received a mandatory cash offer from Network 18( a subsidiary of Network 18 Media & Investments Limited) for the entire issued share capital of the company. Network 18 group
held almost 36.02% of TIFC before the offer and their combined holding shot up to 80.38% post offer.
TIFC is a closed-ended investment company engaged in the production, acquisition, sale, and distribution of Indian films and related content worldwide. It invests in a portfolio of Indian films and films primarily targeted at the Indian audience of varying genre, language and budget. The firm is also involved in the sale/license of domestic theatrical rights.
Meanwhile, TIFC has also announced that Sandeep Bhargava, the CEO of India International Film Advisors Private Limited, the investment adviser to its investment manager, has resigned and Manish Thukral, the CFO of the investment adviser will act as interim-CEO.
For the year ended March’10, it recorded net loss of £4.56 million compared to net profit of £3.89 million in the previous year as it was affected by the producers tiff with cinema operators. Its net asset value as at 31 March 2010 was 115.56 pence per ordinary share, 1.5%
lower compared to the year ago period. It also has committed to invest £13.42 million in film projects.
TIFC is also working with some Indian financial institutions besides those abroad to raise debt to fund its future investments in film projects.
TIFC released nine films last year including “Shortkut – The Con is On”, “Luck”, “Life Partner”, “Fruit ‘N’ Nut”, “Striker”, “Road, Movie” and “Hum Tum Aur Ghost”. These movies were a combination of acquisitions, co-productions and productions.