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Mukesh Ambani in talks with Times Group to sell Network18 stake

Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani is in talks to sell his news media assets to India’s Times Group, to unload a business that’s been losing money, some people familiar with the matter said.

Bennett Coleman & Co., the publisher of the Times of India, is looking to hire advisers for due diligence on the news properties of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd., the people said, asking not to be named as the discussions are private. Mukesh Ambani is considering various options, ranging from an outright exit to a stake sale, one of the people said.

Talks are at an early stage and may not result in a deal, the people said, adding more suitors may emerge. A representative for Bennett Coleman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comments, while a spokesman for Reliance Industries Ltd. said the parent of Network18 evaluates opportunities on an ongoing basis and declined to comment further.

Network18 shares up 10% on news

Shares of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd. surged over 10% today after a media report said promoter Mukesh Ambani is in talks to sell news media assets to India's The Times Group.

RIL holds over 73% in Network18 Media, which owns 51% stake in TV18 Broadcast Ltd.

Network18 Media has been reporting consolidated loss for over three quarters now. The September quarter consolidated loss stood at 589.7 mln rupees. As on Mar 31, the company's net debt stood at 29 bln rupees, data on the Cogencis' Corporate Fundamental Database showed.

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