US media giant Turner will acquire Prannoy Roy promoted NDTV's entertainment channel Imagine for about Rs 546 crore, a deal that will help the Indian media group turn debt-free.
While NDTV's 76 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine would be given to Turner for $67 million (about Rs 314 crore), the Time Warner company would acquire fresh equity $USD 50 million to get 92 per cent control of the entertainment channel launched last year.
The deal is expected to help NDTV tide over a financial crisis, as is reflected in the Rs 86 crore loss posted by the group during the quarter ending September 2009.
"Turner International has signed an agreement in principle to acquire 92 per cent of NDTV Imagine, subject to regulatory and Time Warner Board," Turner International India Pvt Ltd Managing Director Anshuman Misra said in a statement in Mumbai.
"This deal will enable NDTV to become debt free at the consolidated level. It will also provide NDTV Imagine with enough funds for operations," NDTV Networks Chief Executive Officer Vikram Chandra told PTI.
NDTV had debts of Rs 112 crore as of March 31, this year. Shares of NDTV Ltd closed at Rs 164.95, up 3.35 per cent on the BSE.