Update 24/08/06 - The move to acquire Cricketnext.com and Compareindia.com is a move to consolidate TV18 Group’s internet businesses into Web 18 Holdings Ltd. So its no surprise that the interactive news and current affairs internet portal, ibnlive.com has been moved to Web 18 Holdings Ltd portfolio and in return will hold a 15 per cent stake in Web Holdings. According to the consolidation plan, Web 18 Holdings will run the internet businesses either directly or through its subsidiaries. The internet company plans to raise capital from financial or strategic investors. Web18 is expected to be the second internet company to go in for an IPO after Naukri.com
23/08/06: IndianTelevision: Web 18 which is Television Eighteen India Ltd’s internet arm will be acquiring Cricketnext.com and Compareindia.com after acquiring UrbanEye the web development and marketing agency. The acquisitions are a move by TV18 to gain a stronger foothold in the Internet business as they already have moneycontrol.com and a significant stake in yatra.com and jobstreet.com.
By acquiring Cricketnext.com a sports portal with a user base of over five million people TV18 gets a foothold in cricket which is the most watched and the most popular sport segment online or offline in India. whereas by acquiring Compareindia which is a product comparison site, with a user base of over two million people and offers a comprehensive product comparison engine with thousands of products over 50+ categories TV18 enters the all important users review segment which drives ecommerce on the internet as the IAMAI report on e-commerce stated that 93% of online shoppers affirmed that the would recommend online shopping. Also the two portals fit the current portfolio of sites that TV18 has for example Cricketnext.com will synergise with news portal, ibnlive.com, and also CNN IBN and IBN7 television channels. Compareindia.com is easily compatible with the High networth individuals visiting moneycontrol.com.
According to TV 18 Group CEO Haresh Chawla These acquisitions are in line with TV18′s strategy to strengthen their position in the consumer internet space. Web 18’s vision is to be the leader in the consumer internet space. They expect consumer focused services like online recruitment, financial services, travel services, product comparisons and home shopping, sports etc to drive the growth of the internet in India. They expect significant synergies and competitive advantage to emerge from this move.
I think TV18 is one TV company which is really backing the potential in the internet and forming a seperate company Web18 just to manage its web businesses is a move which i feel is in the right direction.