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Reliance takes over Network18

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries has acquired a controlling stake in Network18 Group, Viacom’s joint venture partner in India, for US$680m.

The deal will give Reliance, which is backed by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, a 78% stake in the Indian media giant, which runs news and entertainment channels and an e-commerce business.

It also has a local joint venture with US media conglomerate Viacom called Viacom18, which includes channels such as MTV India, Nickelodeon India and Comedy Central.

The acquisition follows Reliance’s investment in Network18 in 2012, which allowed it to acquire smaller local rival ETV’s channel assets in a deal worth nearly US$400m.

Reliance, which is also a major player in the oil and gas industries, will now target the 4G business with Network18’s digital properties, including websites and

“This acquisition will differentiate Reliance’s 4G business by providing a unique amalgamation at the intersection of telecoms, web and digital commerce via a suite of premier digital properties,” the company said in a statement.

Reliance previously had a joint venture with CBS Studios International that operated three channels in India, but the three-year partnership came to an end earlier this year.


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