Has TV9 changed hands for Rs 500 cr?
Chintalapati Srinivasa Raju, popularly known as Srini Raju, who founded TV9 news channels and has been trying to sell them for the past few years, has reportedly struck a deal to sell the media business for around Rs 500 crore
Hyderabad: Chintalapati Srinivasa Raju, popularly known as Srini Raju, who founded TV9 news channels and has been trying to sell them for the past few years, has reportedly struck a deal to sell the media business for around Rs 500 crore.
It is said that city-based infrastructure major Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Limited (MEIL) headed by P V Krishna Reddy and cement-to-real estate MyHome Group headed by Dr Jupally Rameswar Rao have jointly bought Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCL) that operates seven TV9 news channels in Telugu, Kannada and other Indian regional languages.
However, there is no official communication on the deal from either side. A spokesperson for MEIL denied any such development while Srini Raju did not respond to a message sent by this newspaper. Founded in January 2004, TV9 Telugu is among the first news channels in regional languages. Subsequently, ABCL rolled out news channels in other regional languages including Gujarati, Marathi and Kannada. At the last count, the company, in which Srini Raju holds majority stake, has seven news channels.
Thanks to the first mover advantage, TV9 has been leading the TRP charts since inception. But it has run into rough weather and landed in controversies several times, with the latest episode involving Jana Sena chief and film actor Pawan Kalyan who lambasted the channel and its founder for telecasting adverse comments about his mother by a starlet. This controversy went to such an extent that Srini Raju reportedly planned to file a defamation suit against the actor. Earlier, YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also criticised the news channel and termed it as ‘yellow’ media that supports his party’s rival Telugu Desam Party.
Vexed with such controversies that haunted him with no fault of his, Srini Raju who invested around Rs 300 crore in ABCL has been trying to dispose of the media house. Apart from the media business, he invested in Sri City, an integrated business city, in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and owns Peepul Capital, a leading private equity firm.
“Of late, TV9 has become more controversial. That will impact other businesses. Either one has to leverage it or get out of it. It has lost its purpose,” a person close to Srini Raju said, adding, “Management will be blamed even if a single member of editorial team misuses freedom given”.