My Home Pro­moter in Talks to Buy As­so­ci­ated Broad­cast­ing

The Economic Times - - Companies - @times­group.com

Hy­der­abad: Te­lan­gana’s lead­ing in­dus­tri­al­ist Ju­pally Rameswar Rao is in talks to buy the ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Srini Raju-con­trolled As­so­ci­ated Broad­cast­ing Com­pany (ABCL) that runs news chan­nels in Telugu, Kan­nada, Marathi and Gu­jarati un­der TV9 brand, said four per­sons in the know. Rao, founder of My Home group and known to be close to the Te­lan­gana chief min­is­ter K Chan­drasekhar Rao’s fam­ily, is said to have de­vel­oped in­ter­est in me­dia busi­ness post Te­lan­gana for­ma­tion and was look­ing at in­vest­ing in re­gional lan­guage news chan­nels.

The ne­go­ti­a­tions, if fruc­tify, could fur­ther con­sol­i­date the hold­ing of per­sons close to politi­cians over re­gional me­dia, both print and elec­tronic, in the two Telugu speak­ing states of Andhra Pradesh and Te­lan­gana.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst and edi­tor of a me­dia house, who did not want to be named for fear of be­ing tar­geted, said, “The grow­ing con­trol over me­dia by the politi­cians and per­sons close to them across the coun­try could lead to a dan­ger­ous sce­nario of in­creas­ing ef­forts by politi­cians to man­u­fac­ture con­sent in their favour and sup­press the voice of op­po­si­tion and civil so­ci­ety.”

As­so­ci­ated Broad­cast­ing Com­pany (ABCPL), the com­pany that op­er­ates six news chan­nels un­der TV9 brand, was promoted by Ravi Prakash and Srini Raju’s in­vest­ment en­ti­ties iLabs Ven­ture Cap­i­tal and Chin­ta­la­p­ati Hold­ings. Ravi Prakash, who cur­rently acts at chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, owns around 10% stake, and few of his col­leagues to­gether own an­other10%, while the bal­ance close to 80% is held by Raju’s in­vest­ment arms.

If the deal fruc­ti­fies, it could fur­ther con­sol­i­date the hold­ing of per­sons close to politi­cians over re­gional me­dia

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