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India’s Associated Broadcasting Company to have new owners

New investors are to purchase an 80% controlling stake in the Hyderabad-based Associated Broadcasting Company (ABCL), which runs the TV9 network of regional news channels – according to The Times of India.

The investors, said to be a national media house and a US equity fund, are reportedly purchasing the INR 500 crore stake owned by iLabs Capital, promoted by entrepreneur Srini Raju, and private equity company SAIF Partners.

"A non-disclosure agreement has been inked by iLabs and SAIF with the new investors in Mumbai on Tuesday. The definitive agreement is expected to be signed within the next few weeks," a source close to the deal told The Times of India.

The new investors reportedly want to expand the broadcasting company into the regional general entertainment arena. Currently the network operates seven 24 hour news channels in Telugu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, and Kannada, as well as an English language news channel.

iLabs, which is said to have invested about INR 80 crore in the broadcaster since 2004, currently holds around 65% of ABCL stock; while SAIF Partners holds 15% of the company.

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