Media conglomerate Network18 today said it will sell its entire stake in financial data and news terminal business NewsWire18 to private equity firm Samara Capital for Rs 90 crore. “Network18 has entered into a definitive agreement with Samara Capital to divest its entire stake in NewsWire18 and the total transaction will result in proceeds of Rs 90 crore for Network18. This is in line with the stated objective of divesting non-core assets profitably to allow greater focus on its core television and digital businesses,” Network18 said in a statement.
NewsWire18 will also be rechristened over the next 90 days as a result of the transaction, it added. It has more than 600 customers across banks, regulators, insurance companies, equity and commodity brokerages, the corporate sector, media houses and educational institutions. The transaction is expected to add about Rs 70 crore to Network18′s consolidated pre-tax profit for the current quarter, it said. Network18 Media and Investments shares were trading at Rs 46.10 apiece, up 0.11 per cent at 1315 hrs on the BSE. “The divestiture of Newswire18 is a reflection of our commitment to profitably monetise non-core assets for the benefit of our shareholders and to also facilitate the growth of these businesses to the next level,” Network18 Managing Director Raghav Bahl said.
Earlier, Network18 had sold its stake in one of the Capital18 investee companies – NetworkPlay and then partially diluted its stake in digital commerce firm Bookmyshow.com. Network18 was the majority shareholder in NewsWire18, having incubated the company with the founding CEO Pankaj Aher and his team. This is the second transition for the continuing founders, Pankaj Aher and Kalyanram Kodakalla, who first started CRISIL MarketWire in 2001 and subsequently set up NewsWire18 in 2006 with Network18.
“Samara has chalked out detailed plans and will be deeply involved in business strategy, growing our suite of products, expanding across other emerging markets, strengthening management team and implementing best in class systems and processes,” NewsWire18 CEO Pankaj Aher said. Announcing the transaction, Raghav Bahl, Managing Director, Network18 said that, “The divestiture of Newswire18, India’s leading financial data and news terminal business is a reflection of our commitment to profitably monetize non-core assets for the benefit of our shareholders and to also facilitate the growth of these businesses to the next level. We are proud to have partnered with NewsWire18 in its journey thus far and are confident that Pankaj and his team will continue to excel and build one of the finest financial data businesses in India.”
Commenting on the deal, Sai Kumar, Group CEO, said, “In a few short years, NewsWire18 has grown into a leader in its space and we take great pride and pleasure in having written this wonderful growth story. The growth at NewsWire18 is a reflection of Network18′s business building skills and the value that our network eco-system brings to a business. We would like to give Pankaj and his team and Samara Capital our best wishes as they embark on the next phase of their journey.”
Samara Capital’s investments include companies like Flemingo Duty Free, Thriveni Earthmovers, Monte Carlo Fashions, Thyrocare Technologies and Ratnakar Bank. BMR Advisors acted as the sole transaction adviser to Network18.