Mukesh Ambani’s presence across Indian Business continues to grow. On May 29th 2014, it was announced that Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) acquired India’s largest news broadcaster – Network 18. The Network 18 Group through its subsidiary TV18 Broadcast Limited operates many news channels in India the most famous of which are CNN-IBN, IBN7, CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz.
The acquisition of the TV network is surprising but not shocking. Over two years back, in January 2012, RIL through its Board of Directors had sanctioned an undisclosed loan to the Network 18 Group in the form of optionally convertible debentures. The entire debt was routed through a newly created entity – Independent Media Trust (IMT). This entity has a presence on the Bombay Stock Exchange and in spite of that, there were several eyebrows raised at the lack of information regarding the same. As such, with this being an issue which many observers and news commentators raised, RIL responded with a statement after the acquisition. Its statement said that RIL will extend funds of up to Rupees 4000 crore to IMT “for acquisition of control in NW18 including its subsidiary TV18.” It said IMT, of which RIL is the sole beneficiary, will use the funds to acquire control over NW18 and TV18 resulting in ownership of about 78% in NW18 and 9% in TV18.
Reliance Industries Limited has always ventured into new territory. The company started off in the textile industry dealing in fibers. Back then, the company was headed by Dhirubhai Ambani. Since then, his eldest son, Mukesh Ambani has taken over the reins of the company and taken it to greater heights. Not content with the limited offering of RIL, Mukesh Ambani ventured into the Oil & Gas sector and is now one of the biggest importers of Natural Gas and Petroleum in India. He is the brains behind the Jamnagar Refinery, the world’s largest refinery. Apart from his wildly successful foray in this sector, he’s also tasted success in the retails sector. Reliance now operates several stores such as Reliance Digital Reliance Fresh and Reliance Autozone that cater to electronics and appliances, food products and car accessories respectively.
Now, with the acquisition of Network 18, analysts expect Reliance Industries and the brains behind them to succeed once again in a completely new territory – News Broadcasting. After all, the company’s impeccable track record in new, unchartered territories is stellar by any imaginable standard!