New Delhi:Global media and entertainment firm NBC Universal Inc. is entering India through a financial tie-up with NDTV Networks.
According to a statement issued by the two companies, NBC Universal will acquire an effective 26% share in NDTV Networks, the holding company for NDTV Ltd’s entertainment and lifestyle channels, digital media and other interests. The deal also gives NBC, owned 80% by General Electric Co. and 20% by French media group Vivendi SA, the option to increase its stake to 50% in the third year after the deal at a fair market price.
The agreement marks the direct entry of the one of the world’s top five media and entertainment companies in India. The US-based Viacom Inc. last year entered into 50:50 joint venture with Network18 to launch various entertainment channels. In 2006, the Walt Disney Co. had picked up a 14.85% stake in UTV Software Communications Ltd. NBC Universal already has a content partnership with Network18, the diversified media and entertainment group.
The deal puts the valuation of NDTV Networks at $577 million (Rs2,273 crore).
In a conference call on Tuesday, NBC CEO and president Jeff Zucker said the move was part of his firm’s goal to expand its global footprint. “India is one of the most important and fastest growing markets and when we looked at it, NDTV really stood out,” Zucker said. When asked if the deal will impact NBC Universal’s existing content sharing agreement with Network18, he said: “There will be no impact on that. We are happy to have our brands and products across multiple platforms in India.”
The deal also indirectly expands the presence of GE in India. “Our focus in India so far has been in infrastructure, commercial finance and health care. This deal also gives us a presence in media,” said Tejpreet Singh Chopra, president and CEO of GE in India.
NDTV Ltd scrip closed 0.41% down on the Bombay Stock Exchange on a day when the benchmark Sensex closed 4.97% down.
IT services market in India put at $10 bn by ’11
New Delhi: The country’s software services market is expected to almost double at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 23.2% to more than $10 billion (Rs39,400 crore) by 2011, with the strongest growth coming from areas such as consulting, information technology management, and business process management.
Domestic software services stood at $5 billion in 2007. The market is estimated to be more than $6 billion this year, research firm Gartner Inc. said.
“High growth among the small- and mid-size businesses, government projects, and increased customers are driving the growth in IT services,” said Arup Roy, senior research analyst at Gartner. As on December, consulting revenues were $474 million and will grow to more than $1 billion in 2011, IT management will grow from $743 million last year to $1.5 billion and business process management from $406 million to $948 million. Regina Anthony
Cipla files for patent revocation
New Delhi: Drug maker Cipla Ltd has filed for a revocation of patent on lung cancer drug Tarceva in Delhi high court, while Roche Scientific Co. (India) Ltd, the patent holder, is seeking an injunction to stop Cipla’s non-patented cheaper copies in the Indian market.
The arguments will continue on Wednesday before the high court where the Indian arm of the Swiss drug maker is claiming Cipla infringed its patent— granted in 2007.
Roche is selling Erlotinib, sold its brand Tarceva, for Rs4,800 per tablet. Offering the drug at one-third of Roche’s price, Cipla has challenged the validity of Roche patent. It claims that Tarceva is a derivative of a pre 1995 drug and hence doesnot qualify for a patent under Indian laws. bhuma shrivastava
Advani to lead NDA in next general elections
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) announced on Tuesday that it would contest the next general election under the leadership of L.K. Advani.
The announcement followed a meeting of the chiefs of constituent parties, except Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, and chief ministers of NDA-ruled states.
Briefing the media after the meeting, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would continue as chairman of the alliance and George Fernandes of the Janata Dal (United) as its convenor. Ashish Sharma
Endurance Group eyes acquisition in US
Mumbai: The Aurangabad-based Endurance Group, which supplies components to vehicle makers such as Bajaj Auto Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, said it is looking at an acquisition in the US with an eye on aluminium die-casting companies with an annual turnover of $200-250 million (Rs788-985 crore) .
The group, with an expected turnover of Rs2,500 crore this fiscal, aims to double its sales by 2009-10.
Although the company has discussed the idea of an initial public offering (IPO) previously, the company would have a clearer idea on the kind of valuations, which are possible by the end of March. The Endurance Group on Tuesday said it will invest Rs35 crore to set up a manufacturing facility in Singur that would supply components for the Tata Nano. Ammar Master
Bird flu spreads, but govt says no human cases yet
While Central ministries and the West Bengal state administration have dismissed fears at present that bird flu might have appeared among humans, the disease continued to be found among poultry, with eight districts being brought within culling operations on Tuesday.
Union agriculture ministry officials said 180 people had displayed symptoms of the avian influenza virus, such as nausea, vomiting, and temperature fluctuations. But their blood samples showed none have been infected with the virus.
“Further testing within the human population wherever the poultry is infected continues,” officials said.
The infection, however, continues to spread in poultry. West Bengal officials said eight districts were now officially affected. Culling operations are now expected to target more than 800,000 chickens.
The authorities on Tuesday confirmed the country’s worst outbreak of the disease was the virulent H5N1 virus strain. West Bengal’s animal husbandry minister Anisur Rahman said that the 15 January test results had determined birds were dying from the H5N1 strain.
Meanwhile, experts have warned that an outbreak of bird flu among poultry in neighbouring Bangladesh is far worse than the country’s government is reporting. “Things are now very serious and public health is under danger. The government is trying to suppress the whole scenario,” said the treasurer of Bangladesh Poultry Association M.M. Khan. Siddhartha Sarma
‘AP’ and ‘AFP’ contributed to this story.