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Scripps to acquire 69% in NDTV Good Times

Scripps to acquire 69% in NDTV Good Times

New Delhi: Cash-strapped broadcasting company New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) can now breathe easy. The company has not only found a strategic partner for its lifestyle channel in Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. of the US, it has also considerably reduced its debt burden by repurchasing $100 million (Rs464 crore) worth of bonds.

The company told the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday that its UK subsidiary, NDTV Networks Plc, has bought back the bonds due in 2012 for $72.40 each. The buy-back has been financed through bank loans, it said in a statement.

The firm also announced that US-based lifestyle broadcaster Scripps Networks Interactive is acquiring a 69% stake in the company’s lifestyle programming subsidiary NDTV Lifestyle for $55 million. NDTV Lifestyle operates food and lifestyle channel NDTV Good Times.

NDTV will retain the remaining 31% stake in the venture.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2010. “NDTV Good Times channel and NDTV Lifestyle serve as sturdy platforms for us to build lifestyle television programming businesses in one of the world’s most promising media market places," Greg Moyer, president of Scripps Networks International, said in a statement.

Smeeta Chakrabarti, chief executive, NDTV Lifestyle, will continue to head the channel that was launched in 2007. In addition to operating NDTV Good Times, Scripps Networks Interactive and the NDTV group plan to launch other lifestyle TV channels.

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