Final TDSAT order on Raghav Bahl’s plans to launch Bloomberg Quint expected on 9 Dec

MUMBAI: The final TDSAT order on Horizon Satellite Services’ petition, seeking a name change for its TV license to ‘Bloomberg Quint,’ is expected on December 9.

Horizon Satellite Services, that owned licenses of two news and current affairs TV channels, was acquired by Quintillion Business Media Private Ltd (QBM), a joint venture between Raghav Bahl and Bloomberg in a 74:26 partnership. After its acquisition by QBM, Horizon sought a name change of the television license it holds.

Currently, the channel is called "Y TV" and Horizon had made an application to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to change the name to ‘Bloomberg Quint’.

Horizon has approached TDSAT after its application seeking a name and logo change for its TV license was pending with the MIB for months.

The TDSAT order assumes significance as there have been media reports claiming that Bloomberg is expected to exit the JV and is looking for new partners in India on account of Bahl’s failure to secure a TV license for their planned business channel  ‘Bloomberg Quint’. Bahl, however, has called the media reports motivated and blamed it on the ‘competition’.

"Some nonsense has just been published by our competitor who is getting very nervous about our imminent TV launch. Our application is coming up for a final order on Dec 9; and prospective investors are queuing up to invest with us,” Bahl wrote in a letter to the employees.

"They have seen the enormous/pioneering success of our digital franchise, and are rather nervous about how we could disrupt their flagship operation!Also, this is a ham-handed ''get back'' at Bloomberg''s article on N18''s sale to TOI. Keep the faith. BQ shall remain in the race, and WIN," he added.

In the last hearing on November 29, respondent (MIB) requested two weeks’ further time for taking a final decision on the pending application. Horizon opposed the request for more time on the ground their business interests are suffering on account of each day’s delay. Horizon further underlined that the respondent and the concerned authorities should have taken note of the observations in the last order to the effect that TDSAT was “not fully satisfied that the respondent have acted with due expedition”.

“In such circumstances, this Tribunal feels that granting long time would cause further delay. Hence, the time granted earlier, even in the absence of any formal application, is extended by one week from today. It is expected that this time limit shall not be disregarded by the respondent. Post the matter under the same head on 9.12.2019,” TDSAT said in its order.

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