NBC Uni grabbing stake in Indian b'caster

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NEW DELHI -- NBC Universal is taking a major stake of about 30% in Indian broadcaster NDTV (New Delhi Television), an Indian online news site reported Thursday.

Contentsutra could not confirm the exact value of the deal but stated that "it is in nine figures -- at least US$100 million and likely more."

NBC has acquired the stake in NDTV Networks, the group's U.K.-based holding company that owns five subsidiaries -- NDTV Imagine, NDTV Lifestyle, NDTV Convergence and NDTV Labs. Additionally, NBC has acquired 50% in another group company NGEN Media Services Private, the report said.

Contentsutra added that "a source familiar with the deal said NDTV gets capital, content and some value addition."

NDTV did not comment, and requests for comment from NBC International's office in Singapore did not receive a response.

Established in the late '80s, NDTV evolved from a news production house that partnered with News Corp.'s Star network for the Star News channel in the mid-'90s to launching its own channels in 2003. These included English news channel NDTV 24x7 and Hindi news outlet NDTV India followed by lifestyle channel NDTV Good Times. The group will soon foray into entertainment broadcasting via NDTV Imagine, a Hindi general entertainment channel.

In 2007, NDTV did a $120 million foreign placement for its U.K. subsidiary raising funding from PE investors that included Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse for a nearly 24% stake; ComVentures, now Velocity Interactive Group, also is an investor.
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