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Times Internet in advance talks to acquire TVF


Video streaming and production company The Viral Fever or TVF has been chasing investors for a fresh round for about 18 months now. However, it has failed to convince its existing investor Tiger Global or any new investor. 

The apathy of investors towards one of the early original content players has now forced the firm to explore acquisition options. 

According to a report by Morning Context, the Mumbai-based firm is in advanced talks with Times Internet for a possible buyout. 

Backed by heavyweight investor Tiger Global, TVF is looking for a $100 million deal. Citing sources, the report says that it’s unlikely to get the asked amount which is 13X of its Rs 56 crore turnover in FY19.

TVF is one of the early evangelizers of OTT play in India. It began as a YouTube channel in 2013 but earned fame during 2015-18 with its web series Pitchers, Permanent Roommates, Yeh Meri Family and Kota Factory on YouTube and TVF Play.

For Times Internet, TVF can help ramp up its OTT platform MX Player’s original content offerings. In 2019, the streaming platform had added 40 original shows. Since the firm is eyeing more original content for the millennials, TVF will be a good fit.

Responding to Entrackr’s queries, Times Internet spokesperson said: “We would like to state that these are speculative in nature. As of now, we can confirm that there are no acquisition plans on MX Player’s part.”

 TVF’s response is awaited. We will update the post when it does.

While things at TVF were in order till early 2017, the company attracted backlash from its viewers when its Chief Executive Officer Arunabh Kumar faced allegations of sexual harassment from its employees.

An anonymous blogger under the pseudonym of Indian Fowler had alleged that Kumar had sexually harassed her when she was working with TVF between 2014 and 2016. Soon after, other victims also reported similar incidents.

Following the allegations, Arunabh had stepped down from his position although he had denied the charges.

Unlike its competitors, All India Bakchod and Pocket Aces, TVF has tried to do several things at the same time. Besides its video streaming service TVF Play, it also runs a dedicated YouTube channel and a production house. 

Lack of clarity on its core business proposition and its appetite for doing several things at one go are major reasons for its ongoing struggle, added the report.

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