New Delhi: HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint and Hindustan Times newspapers, on Wednesday proposed to merge its radio arm with that of Next Mediaworks Ltd.

HT Media owns the popular Hindi radio channels Fever 104 FM and Radio Nasha, with a dominant presence in the metros. Next Mediaworks, through its subsidiary Next Radio Ltd, operates stations across major metros under the Radio One brand, including some in the English language.

HT Media and its shareholders will own 74% in the merged entity, while Next Radio and Next Mediaworks’s shareholders will hold the rest.

The proposal is to move seven metro stations under the Fever 104 FM and Radio Nasha brands and six radio stations (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune) under the Radio One brand into Next Mediaworks in a strategic merger under an already listed radio firm. This entity will own all 13 stations.

The boards of the two companies will seek shareholder approval for the proposal, and other regulatory clearances. Pending approval, both entities will continue to operate independently under the current management structure. Radio One managing director and CEO Vineet Singh Hukmani and Fever FM CEO Harshad Jain will continue to function in their respective leadership roles.

Announcing the strategic move, Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson and group editorial director of HT Media, said, “Radio is a fast-growing segment and research has shown that it has significant urban listenership. Radio One’s merger with our metro operations gives us both a complete bouquet across English and Hindi in all of the country’s biggest radio markets and will help us serve listeners and advertisers better. Such consolidation is another sign of the growing maturity of the radio market. We’re convinced that the merger will add value to all stakeholders. We look forward to working with Radio One to realize our common vision."

Tariq Ansari, chairman of Next Mediaworks Ltd, said, “We are delighted to be combining our radio operations with the metro stations of HT Media. There is a strong operating logic for this combination—multiple formats in the most lucrative urban markets in the country with all the cost synergies and complementary skills to better service listeners and advertisers. Radio One has exhibited strong competence in building profitable segmented radio stations and HT Media (HTML) is a powerhouse in the mass radio space. We believe that this merger will unlock value for all stakeholders and look forward to working with the excellent management team at HTML to make this happen."

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