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TV18, Network 18 Shares Surge After Deal With Reliance’s Trust

TV18 Broadcast Ltd. climbed to the highest in five weeks in Mumbai trading after announcing yesterday that billionaire Mukesh Ambani will help it acquire 12 regional television channels.

Shares of TV18 surged as much as 20 percent to 40.40 rupees, the highest intraday level since Nov. 30, and traded at 37.45 rupees as of 10:48 a.m. local time. Network 18 Media & Investments Ltd., the group’s holding company, rose as much as 19 percent to 55.50 rupees, the highest since Nov. 11.

The two companies owned by Network 18 Group will offer rights shares to raise as much as 27 billion rupees ($508 million) each to fund the acquisition and reduce debt, TV18 and Network 18 said in filings to the exchanges yesterday. A trust set up by Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. will help the founders including Raghav Bahl pay for their portion of the proposed rights offer, Reliance said in a statement.

Network 18’s purchase of Eenadu Group’s assets for 21 billion rupees will help Reliance’s subsidiary, Infotel Broadband Services Ltd., secure content from the company which runs CNBC-TV18, Colors and Nickelodeon in India, for high-speed 4G data services it plans to start this year.

The unit of Reliance, India’s biggest company by market value, is seeking partnerships after spending 128.5 billion rupees to acquire licenses to provide the mobile services.

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