Famous TV journalists, Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose are likely to resign from CNN-IBN by June, as Reliance Industries Ltd is acquiring the channel's holding company, Network 18 in a massive ₹4,000 crore deal.
This comes after Reliance Industries Ltd on Thursday agreed to provide funding of up to ₹4,000 crore to the Independent Media Trust (IMT) for acquisition of Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd – one of the country's biggest media companies.
Reliance is the sole beneficiary of IMT.
A statement issued by RIL on Thursday said: "IMT would use the funds to acquire control over Network 18 and TV 18...IMT would be making open offers to public shareholders for acquisition of equity shared in Network 18, TV18 and Infomedia Press Limited. IMT would be simultaneously making the Public Announcement under Takeover Regulations. RIL would be a Person Acting in Concert to the open offers."
The news did not go down too well with celebrity TV journalists Sardesai and Ghose, as they are likely to go on leave from 1 June and resign by 30 June, Nework 18 officials told Scroll.in. However there is no official confirmation from the two journalists on the news.
The media company has already seen its top executives exiting the network including Sai Kumar, Ajay Chacko and RDS Bawa, apparently as a precursor to the impending announcement from Reliance. All of them were leaders of the media company from its formative days.
TV18 and Infomedia Press are subsidiary companies of Network 18. This transition is also likely to see the exit of Raghav Bahl, the promoter of the Network 18 group, the media empire he founded two decades ago.
Essentially, the move announced on Thursday, amounts to a conversion of loans given by RIL in 2012 into shares in Network 18 group companies, the Economic Times notes.
Flagship Network 18 and its broadcasting arm TV18 operates over 30 channels including both news properties like CNN IBN, CNBC – TV18, CNBC Awaaz and general entertainment channels such as Colors, MTV, Nick and History TV18.
While the takeover by IMT was anticipated for quite some time, the resignation of the top executives and personalities of the network both before and after the announcement over the last 48 hours, had compounded the speculation.
While Sardesai and Ghose reportedly have offers from other media houses, officials have denied the rumors that they had been considering an offer from Focus TV. While Ghose is likely to ultimately pick one of the offers, it is learnt that Sardesai would possibly take a year's break and write a book.