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Viacom gets FIPB nod to pick up 50% stake in 5 regional channels for Rs 940 cr

MUMBAI: The wait is finally over as the government has given its go-ahead to the US media conglomerate Viacom Inc to be the 50 per cent owner of the five regional channels—Colors Bangla, Colors Marathi, Colors Gujarati, Colors Kannada and Colors Odia.

Viacom will shell out Rs 940.4 crore (Rs 9.40 billion) to acquire the stake, following which these channels will be transferred to Viacom18.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has approved the proposal of Nickelodeon Asia Holdings Pte Ltd (Singapore), a Viacom company, to purchase the entire holdings of Reliance Industries Ltd-owned Shinano Retail Pvt Ltd (India) in Prism TV Pvt Ltd, the owner of the five TV channels.

Viacom had first applied to the FIPB for the said transaction in October 2014. However, the application got deferred multiple times before it was rejected on 5 May this year in absence of some necessary documents.

Viacom once again filed a fresh application and it was approved by the FIPB on 15 June, while the Finance Ministry approved the sale on 15 July.

The government has also approved the proposal of Eros International Media Ltd for acquiring a stake in an Indian company.

Eros will make downstream investment by way of acquisition of shares of an Indian company for non-cash consideration, via issuance of shares of the applicant company to the existing shareholders of the investee company.

Meanwhile, the government has rejected the foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal of INX Music for launching a non-news and current affairs channel.

As per INX Music’s proposal, 9X Media’s Marathi music channel 9X Jhakaas was to be transferred to INX Music, which already owns and operates Punjabi music channel 9X Tashan.

As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, all future channel launches of the company in the regional music space will take place under this subsidiary company.

The company is planning to launch a Bengali music channel in the current fiscal.

INX Music Pvt Ltd has 70.85 per cent indirect foreign investment, while Sandeep Bansal owns a significant minority stake.

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