Reliance Broadcast in talks with PEs, strategic investors

Reliance Broadcast in talks with PEs, strategic investors

New Delhi: Media firm Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) on Wednesday said it is in talks with private equity firms and strategic investors to fund its expansion plans in radio and television segments.

The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group company has plans to invest up to 200 crore on radio business once licences for the FM Phase-III expansion are issued by the government and also make investment on the TV business to expand its portfolio of channels and reach.

“We are talking to private equity players and strategic investors to grow our businesses," RBNL CFO Asheesh Chatterjee told PTI.

He said while PEs bring in funds, strategic partners can lead to content collaborations.

Asked about the amount of funds the company is looking to raise, Chatterjee said: “We do not have any number until the talks mature".

An announcement on the same is likely to come in less than an year’s time, he added but did not specify details such as the likely stake to be sold to PE firms.

As on quarter ended 30 June, 2011, the promoters have 63.87% equity in the company.

While the firm does not have any investments by PEs so far, it has formed joint ventures with US-based CBS Studios International and Europe’s RTL Group for entertainment TV channels in India.

For future growth RBNL is betting on radio and TV.

“Radio (Big FM) currently contributes about 60% to RBNL’s total revenues...the proposed phase three offers huge opportunity...the plan is to invest between 150 crore and 200 crore for radio expansion," Chatterjee said.

He said the firm would focus on buying fresh frequencies and could also consider an acquisition at a ‘right´ price.

The union Cabinet had in July approved the FM Phase-III expansion and the e-auction of the licences is likely to kick off later this year.

In the first quarter, the company has increased its radio advertising rates to 8,000 per ten second slot, up 20 per cent compared to last fiscal. MORE PTI VJR RKL RAH 08161708