Jagran group to acquire Mid-Day's print business

New Delhi: Jagran Prakashan, which publishes one of India’s largest read language dailies, Wednesday said it will acquire all the publications of Mid-Day Multimedia in a stock deal valued at around Rs.175 crore (nearly $40 million).

The board of the group said all the publications, including Mid-Day, published from four centres, Sunday Mid-Day, Gujarati Mid-Day and the Inquilab, among the largest circulated Urdu newspapers, will be acquired by way of a de-merger.

The print businesses of Mid-Day are run by a wholly-owned subsidiary, Mid-Day Infomedia Limited, and includes its internet-related properties, the company said in a regulatory filing with stock exchanges.

The radio business will stay with the present owners of Mid-Day.

Ernst and Young did the valuation of the two businesses and on the record date, fixed as May 5, the swap ratio has been valued at two shares of Jagran for every seven of Mid-Day Multimedia.

“Mid-Day and Inquilab both are strong brands enjoying unique market position, which will be further strengthened,” said Mahendra Mohan Gupta, chairman and managing director of Jagran Prakashan, commenting on the acquisition.

“The proposed merger offers us numerous opportunities to increase our market share in our existing markets and enter into the new markets,” Gupta said in a statement.

“By aligning with Jagran, we will be able to pool resources with the largest newspaper group in the country to grow profitably and deliver better value to shareholders,” added Tarique Ansari, managing director of Mid-Day.

The news immediately resulted in the shares of Mid-Day surging 18 percent to close at Rs.33.55, while that of Jagran dropped nearly 3 percent to close at Rs.115 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Established by freedom fighter Puran Chand Gupta in 1942, Dainik Jagran has as many as 37 editions across 11 states from 30 different facilities. The paper says its readership of 54.2 million makes it the country’s largest read daily.

The Jagran group had also launched its bi-lingual daily in December 2006, which is published from four states in 12 editions, as also an English news and entertainment paper, which has 24 editions.

These apart, Jagran also published Sakhi, targeted at women, and Josh, which caters to the interests of the career-oriented youth. Its Jagran Varshiki is an annual general knowledge digest.

Mid-Day is an older group promoted by Abdul Hamid Ansari with the launch of Inquilab in 1938. With Sportsweek in 1968 and Mid-Day in 1979, the group had strengthened its position as a significant player in the media industry in Mumbai.

This group also runs radio stations in seven cities.

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