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India TV’s Rajat Sharma in talks to acquire 9X Media: Report

NEW DELHI: India TV promoter Rajat Sharma could be diversifying into other genres outside television news broadcasting.

Sharma is in talks to acquire a controlling stake in New Silk Route-backed 9X Media, according to a report in the Economic Times.

Rajat SharmaThe deal would value 9X Media upwards of Rs 200 crore, the business daily reported.

India TV is held under Independent News Service (INS), the company in which Sharma and his wife Ritu Dhawan are the largest shareholders. They own close to 60% stake in the company.

Sharma could tap Keyur Patel, an existing investor in INS, to partially fund the transaction, the report said. Silicon Valley-based media investor Patel also owns stake in NDTV through his Mauritius-based investment arm, CV Global Holdings.

9X Media runs a clutch of music channels, including in regional languages such as Marathi and Punjabi. Its flagship channels are 9XM and 9X Jalwa.

NSR was earlier in talks with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) to offload stake in 9X Media. The private equity firm holds around 80% stake in 9X Media.

Guha directly owns a 5% stake in the company while 9X Media Employee Trust has a 13% stake. NSR has Drag Along/Tag rights over Guha’s shareholding and can cause him to sell his entire holding if the transaction materialises, ET reported.

9X Media (formerly INX Media) was founded in 2007 by Peter Mukerjea and Indrani Mukerjea.