Time Warner Inc. Buys Indian Network

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Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Asia Pacific Ventures has agreed to buy NDTV Imagine from NDTV Neworks Plc, a leading Hindi entertainment channel, and other entertainment assets in India for about $126.5 million.

The deal will give Turner a 92% stake in Imagine and includes a $50 million capital infusion for the funding of the business at the closing of the acquisition.

The remaining 8% stake will be held by current management at Imagine, Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) holders and NDTV Networks Plc.

Bandini, on NDTV Imagine

Current Imagine CEO Sameer Nair will continue in that role once the deal is closed.

Launched in 2008, NDTV Imagine's other subsidiaries, include a movie production company NDTV Imagine Pictures Ltd.; Alliance Lumiere Limited, a joint venture operating a multi-language world cinema channel and Imagine Showbiz Limited, a joint venture operating a Bollywood Entertainment and Music channel.

Imagine will join other Turner assets in India such as kids' channels Cartoon Network and Pogo, CNN International, Home Box Officer and Turner Classic Movies. Turner also has several partnerships in India, including Zee Turner Limited, a partnership with Zee Entertainment and Enterprises; GBN (a TV18 company) for the co-branded 24-hour English news channel CNN IBN; and the Alva Brothers for a minority stake in Miditech, one of India's largest television production companies and a Hindi general entertainment channel, REAL.

"This acquisition marks another significant milestone in Turner's business in India, and I'm particularly delighted to announce this deal as we celebrate 20 years in the Asia-Pacific region," Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific president Steve Marcopoto said in a statement.

"India continues to be a key priority for us," he said in the statement. "Our accelerated pace of investment here underscores both our commitment to this dynamic market and our view of India's compelling long-term potential. NDTV has created a first-class network that has been successful in catering to the needs of the entire spectrum of television audiences and we're happy to leverage our expertise to help take the channel forward."

BofA Merrill Lynch advised Time Warner.

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