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IPTV News - Videoconís Dhoots look to snap up IOL Netcom owned By Ashish Deora


The Dhoot family, the promoters of Videocon Group, has bought 14% equity in IOL Netcom owned by Ashish deora, a Mumbai-based broadband company, from the open market transaction is being perceived by the industry as a take over bid.

In the last two months, Shree Dhoot Trading & Agencies Ltd, an investment company of the Dhoots, has mopped up 11.72% shares in the loss-making firm, earlier known as IOL Broadband. This is in addition to the 1.97% stake that Videocon Realty & Infrastructure Ltd, a Videocon group company, owns in IOL Netcom.

Sources close to the development said the Dhoots have hired an advisor for further negotiations to gain management control of the zero-debt company that was the first in Asia to launch IPTV.

Videocon Group officials have met IOL Netcom president Siddharth Srivastava to discuss areas of mutual cooperation. However, the talks did not cover any buyout proposal.

IOC Netcom offers broadband solutions and IPTV and has set up a 200 km fibre optic network in Mumbai and Delhi. The company, which suffered a loss of Rs 2.14 crore on revenues of Rs 2.19 crore in fiscal 2008, is about to launch its broadband services in Mumbai.

When contacted, Mr Srivastava said that the share purchase by Videocon is not seen as a hostile bid by Netcom, even though there was no understanding between the two companies on the transaction. ďWe have a wide range of investors with no identifiable group of promoters. This segment is set for a boom and may be the new investors see value in our shares,Ē he told ET.

Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot was not available for comments.

Videoconís synergies with IOL Netcom would include joint development of direct-to-home (DTH) content and internet protocol TV (IPTV) platforms, supply of fibre for the broadband business, besides alliances in marketing, retailing and branding.

The Videocon Group is planning to launch its DTH services across the country by the end of the year. As the DTH business has significant strategic synergies with IOL, the Dhoots are keen on acquiring Netcom, said an industry official familiar with the matter.

The share price of IOL Netcom, has crashed from its peak of Rs 580 as on August 9 last year to Rs 76.50 as on Thursday on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The sharp decline was a good opportunity for the Dhoots to buy into the company.

The family has done similar in other companies. For instance, the Dhoots have bought a substantial chunk of shares in Archies, the maker of greeting cards and now looking for a management control.


 ashish deora
 IOL net

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