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India opens up television sector to foreigners

Overseas investment cap raised to 74%

LONDON

The Indian government has paved the way for increased international investment in the country’s booming TV sector, raising the caps for foreign ownership from 49% to 74%.

However, each deal must be cleared by India’s foreign investment promotion board. That will not be required for investments up to 49%.

Foreign ownership of TV news channels and radio stations remains capped at 26% and is subject to government approval.

Under the new regulations, foreign institutional investors, foreign currency convertible bonds, American depository receipts, global deposit receipts and convertible preference shares owned by foreign companies are all allowed to invest, as are non-resident Indians.

Global players who may now be looking to up the stake they already have in the lucrative sector include Viacom, News Intl., CBS, Fox, Discovery, Sony and National Geographic.

The sector is worth $6.6 billion and growing at 17% a year, according to a KPMG report.

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