Mumbai: Bennett Coleman & Co. is considering selling a stake in its Internet unit, according to people familiar with the matter, as the publisher of The Times of India looks to expand the business in one of the world's fastest growing digital markets.
The Indian conglomerate, also known as the Times Group, is working with an adviser to explore options for a 10% stake in Times Internet Ltd., said one of the people. It is looking to bring in financial or strategic investors including global technology companies, for India's biggest digital firm, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.
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Bennett Coleman aims to start discussions with prospective suitors as soon as this month, one of the people said. It's too early to tell the value of a minority stake as deliberations are at an early stage, the people said. The conglomerate could still decide not to proceed with a deal, they said.
Representatives for Bennett Coleman & Co. and Times Internet didn't respond to requests for comment.
Times Internet, founded in 1999, owns some of the country's most popular news websites, live-streaming apps and fintech firms. It operates Cricbuzz, which specializes in cricket news, and EconomicTimes.com. It also runs music app Gaana that had 150 million active users as of February.
MX Takatak, a short-video app owned by Times Internet portfolio company MX Media, has seen a sharp rise in downloads following India's TikTok ban in June. The app is one of several including Roposo and Moj that are viewed as local competitors to TikTok, which was one of 59 Chinese apps banned in June in the country amid tensions over the India-China border. Takatak is the second most downloaded free app on India's Google Play Store on Tuesday, and the eighth most downloaded for iPhone, according to market researcher Sensor Tower.