Network 18 Media Rises on Report Mukesh Ambani May Buy Stake

Network 18 Media & Investments Ltd. (NETM) rose the most in more than two years in Mumbai trading after the Wall Street Journal reported that billionaire Mukesh Ambani may buy a stake in the company.

Network 18 climbed as much as 20 percent, the biggest intraday gain since November 2009, and was up 10 percent at 39.75 rupees as of 11:31 a.m. local time. India’s benchmark Sensitive Index (SENSEX) fell 0.4 percent. Shares of the company’s broadcasting unit TV18 Broadcast Ltd. advanced 6.6 percent.

Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), is in talks with Raghav Bahl, Network 18’s founder and managing director, according to the Journal report, which cited people familiar it didn’t name. Reliance Industries denied it is interested in buying a stake in Network 18, according to an e-mailed statement today.

“If Mr. Ambani shows interest in the company, they will get cash from him” to help reduce debt, Archana Shivane, an analyst with Mumbai-based KR Choksey Shares & Securities Pvt., said in a telephone interview. The company may also use the cash for acquisitions, she said.

Bahl couldn’t be reached immediately at his office for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Malavika Sharma in New Delhi at msharma52@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net.

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