How will Jain brothers divide Times Internet?

Speculations over Times Group's split have been rife for quite some time but the management has so far not put them to rest

by Team PITCH
Published - April 10, 2023
4 minutes To Read
How will Jain brothers divide Times Internet?

As India’s oldest and one of the most influential media companies Times Group (Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd or BCCL) is headed for a split reportedly due to growing differences between brothers Sameer and Vineet Jain on how to run the business, the media industry is abuzz with speculations. 

People wonder how the two brothers will bifurcate the conglomerate which has over the years expanded its footprint across newspapers, television, radio, digital, movies, music, outdoor advertising, education and more.

Though the speculations were rife since the demise of their mother and erstwhile chairman of the group Indu Jain in 2021, insiders say the separation of the brothers looks inevitable now. 

People privy to the matter claim that assets of the company have undergone an elaborate evaluation process but due to the complexities involved the brother couldn't arrive at a consensus. They are reportedly looking at a mediation for a smooth split of the conglomerate which is a web of around 70 entities, including the most complex one, Times Internet Ltd (TIL). 

A media report claimed, “Two mediators have been appointed to oversee this mediated auction. This includes Sunil Bharti Mittal, the billionaire chairman of telecoms operator Bharti Airtel, and a member of the Dalmia family, which owned BCCL in the 1950s before handing the company over to the Jains.

e4m sought to get the reactions from the TIL management on speculations and plans, but their response was awaited till the time of writing of the story. 

Samir Jain is older to Vineet by 10 years and serves as the vice chairman of BCCL, while Vineet Jain is the managing director. Jain brothers are reportedly distant apart from each other when it comes to business acumen, lifestyle and vision for the company.

Fate of TIL

Times Internet Ltd (TIL), which is the digital arm of the Times Group, is going to be the one most impacted entity by this split due to its unique placement, observers speculate.  

TIL, which is India’s largest digital products company, operates digital channels of all the newspapers of BCCL group like, and which are integral part of their newspaper business. 

Without newspaper titles, online editions will lose significance. Their reach and heft will also take a hit. Since online editions are largely dependent on print editions in terms of content, an integrated set-up is crucial for all practical and business reasons. 

These factors indicate that a split of the TIL is inevitable and could be the trickiest one. 

TIL also operates Times Card, Times Jobs, MensXP, IDiva, Speaking Tree,, Times Prime, ET Money etc. and has been engaged in the business of providing online and offline services including selling of print advertorials/advertisement. 

“Dividing multiple businesses into equal two would be a daunting task due to another reason. Vineet Jain is the chairman of Times Internet. However, most of the TIL operations are managed by Satyan Gajwani, Samir Jain’s son-in-law and the vice chairman of Times Internet,” says a senior editor of a newspaper who had earlier worked with Times Group. 

After the mediation auction, different entities of TIL might end up in different houses, including the outsiders. Bharti Airtel is interested in fintech and ET Money may get picked up by the mediator only,” a news report claimed.


Selling of businesses

TIL has been working hard over the past two years to consolidate its business and offload the loss-making entities. 

The company sold the restaurant reservations app Dineout as well as short video platform MX TakaTak in early 2022. It recently sold two of its content websites—MensXP and iDiva—and its creator management vertical Hypp to Mensa Brands. 

It is in the process of selling OTT platform MX Player also which has reportedly been punching a hole in their coffers. The company is now in the talks with Amazon to sell it off at a price which is reportedly less than its acquisition cost. 

Times Internet acquired MX Player in 2018 for an estimated sum of $140 million or Rs 1,000 Cr. “Amazon has offered roughly $60 million, almost half of its purchasing cost,” sources claimed. This is despite the fact that MX Player has been regarded as the most downloaded app in India and third most downloaded in the world in 2022, according to the State of Mobile 2023 report by 

The company’s arm Gradeup has already been merged with Byju’s through NCLT approval, its financial report stated. 

According to media reports, Times Internet has also undergone a shareholding change and stakes held by different Times Group entities and family members were all transferred to BCCL in 2021-22.