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Watchdog green lights Reliance Industries stake in Network18

The Competition Commission of India has given the go ahead to the acquisition by Reliance Industries of a reported INR 27 billion (US$485.4 million) stake in the Network 18 Group.

A body established for the benefit of Reliance Industries, called the Independent Media Trust, has acquired the share holding by subscribing to the optionally convertible debentures of companies controlled by Raghav Bahl, who controls the two media operations of the Network18 Group: Network18 and TV18 Broadcast. The first encompasses the digital and publishing side of the business, while the second looks after television assets.

"The commission is of the opinion that the proposed combination is not likely to have any appreciable adverse effect on competition in the business of supply of television channels in India... specific determination of relevant product and geographic market in respect of supply of television channels in India is not necessary,'' said the CCI.

TV18 operates the business news channels CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz and general news channels CNN IBN and IBN 7. The division also takes care of the 50% stake in Viacom18, with its entertainment channels Colors, MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1, as well as film arm Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.

Reliance Industries Limited is a Fortune Global 500 company and is the largest private sector company in India.

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