PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Rajeev Chandrashekhar, who launched himself into India’s bulging billionaire club by selling his 67% stake in BPL Mobile, and became a Rajya Sabha member of the ruling JD(S) in Karnataka, is reportedly eyeing a stake in a Bangalore-based newspaper group that publishes Deccan Herald and Praja Vani.
Chandrashekhar, 43, currently chairman and managing director of Jupiter Capital, a firm with a focus on media, entertainment and technology ventures, already has a presence in radio and television. He owns Indigo Radio, an FM channel, and recently acquired the Malayalam television channel, Asianet. A Kannada channel is in the pipeline.
The erstwhile BPL scion, who is sitting on a cash pile of anywhere between Rs 1,400 crore and Rs 1,600 crore, wants to complete his media bouquet by getting into the print medium by picking up a slice of The Printers (Mysore) Private Limited, the publishers of Deccan Herald, Praja Vani, Sudha and Mayura.
Except that the family-owned media house is not for sale. Sure, it is cash-strapped. Sure, there is an internecine war that recently saw a change in the editorship of the publications. And twice in the last three years, there have been rumours that one of the three brothers, a different one each time, wanted to sell out; but they were hotly denied.
Therefore, Chandrashekhar, who himself was at the centre of a family squabble involving his father-in-law T.P.G. Nambiar over BPL mobile, is said to be using a backdoor route to gain entry into 75, M.G. Road.
Sources say Chandrashekhar is said to be interested in picking up the holdings of non-family members. As per the Form IV declaration of February 25, 2007, besides the three brothers, there are 12 shareholders—29 individuals in all—holding more than one per cent of the total capital of the company.
At least one of them is said to have evinced keen interest in Chandrashekhar’s offer. But there is a hitch. The change of editorship issue is before the Company Law Board. Till that is resolved, the shares cannot change hands. And even if the shareholder wants to divest, the first offer has to be made to the family. Will the family spurn the silver?
Moreover, will picking up these small holdings give Chandrashekhar controlling power, which is his ultimate gameplan? Maybe not, but media analysts say at least it will give him a foot in the door in Bangalore, where the newspaper market has been red-hot for over a decade now and market leader Deccan Herald has been caught napping time and time again.
Cross-posted on sans serif
Illustration courtesy: The Telegraph, Calcutta
After all this divesting / investing, will this signal the death of kannadiga owned papers , Hindu is tamilian owned , TOI, VIjay times, Mid day is not kannadiga owned , Asian age is almost defunct ….Udayavani doesn’t cater to the English market… sad day if this happens.
So, all the play and publicity that H.D. Kumaraswamy was getting in the paper is beginning to make sense. If Rajeev Chandrashekar who is a JDS MP picks up Deccan Herald, then Kumaraswamy who has plans to launch a TV channel of his own will also have a newspaper in his kitty.
Like in some other countries industry barons should be debarred from holding shares in media
The ownership should rest with public
The media in Karnataka will be like what it is in TN. Controlled by political parties. They can soon start distributing the TVs for free…
If that is true, a “local” news paper will be badly missed.
I am “non-kannadiga” staying in Bangalore for around 5 years, and really enjoy DH, and that is my subscription at home. There is always a “local” flavour in DH, which is missed in others.
According to me, a news paper is my window to the external world, which brings me closer to the city every day, through the happenings around me, and educates me about my “karma bhoomi”
I see this character strongly lacking in TOI/The Hindu.
I hate Hindu, for the strong “Tamil/Chennai” overtones. They never cover anything which matter other cities.
TOI is a tabloid. I cannot call it a news paper. Only otherthing which was a news paper is the “New Indian Express”/Kannada Prabha.
Lets stop getting sentimental. Does it really cater to the Kannadiga. There is this whole confused look about DH and none can understand what it caters to. Why after 50 long years isnt the newspaper not number one? Thats quite strange in my view. The paper needs an overhaul and the journalists over there a spanking for churning out trash day after day. Unfortunately Bangalore media is in such doldrums that the reader has no choice but to choose from the best among the worst. Such investment threats are the need of the hour to shake off the complacency that every reader gets to see in the newspaper.
For Those Who Say DH is a “Local” Paper
Here is some REVEALING stats. Here is the list of articles/news/interviews published in DH – Sunday Herald (pages 2 & 3) which are devoted to movies, for the last three weeks:
Profile article: Chris Evans (Hollywood)
Profile article: Tanushree Dutta (Bollywood)
Profile article: Shootout at Lokhandwala (Interviwe with director)
News item about Shahrukh Khan
Two news items about two-bit Hollywood stars
Profile article: AnthonyMinghella (Hollyood director)
Profile article: AtulKulkarni (Bollywood actor)
Sowcar Janaki (Mainly Tamil, and other South Indian actress)
News items about Celina Jaitley, Sushmita Sen.
Profile article: George Clooney
Profile article: Sukhwinder Singh
Interview: Sayali Bhagat (Bollywood debutante artiste)
Interview: Jada Pinkett Smith (Hollywood artiste)
Bollywood hits and misses news
News items about a Hollywood Chinese epic, George Clooney and Brad Pitt new movie
Not a SINGLE article/news/interview about a Kannada movie or artiste in three weeks. You can go back any number of weeks in the DH website and check it… The stats will be very revealing. I am sure the June 3rd edition also will have nothing on Kannada movies.
TOI and The Hindu, by their “guilt conscience” have more articles on Kannada movies than DH. DH doesn’t care. THIS IS THE TRUTH.
You are looking at the Sunday Herald. Look at the main paper and see that it has more local news. Further, it tends to highlight local news on the front page of the paper as opposed to burying it like TOI, Hindu.
What you say may be true. If you read my post again, I have made it clear at 3-4 places that DH’s coverage of Kannada movies/artistes is pathetic. In this DH is worse off than TH or TOI.
Anyway, as expected nothing about Kannada movies/artistes on June 3rd also:
Profile article: Johnny Depp
Profile article: Jerry Bruckenheimer
Interview: Aroona Irani (Bollywood artiste)
Music Reviews : TWO Bollywood movies
Article: About Tamil blockbuster “Sivaji”
Article: About Thai model-actress who is going to act in a Hindi movie
News item about David Beckham
Well done DH.. we are proud of you.
guys relax.Bangalore is now global and not a mere town anymore.every newspaper has a city page which is dedicated to the incidents of the city, which of course is always filled with accidents and murders.
If you like only local news only then may be you should read Kannada publications.Deccan Herald is a english publication and i respect the paper for what it has achieved over the years.They do not belong to the rat race of print media competition.Today Deccan Herald still has a circulation of more than a lakh and a readership of more than 3 lacs.Its commendable for DH.