With news emerging that Raghav and Harish shooting down a Bennett plan for a 'no-poach' agreement, which is a smart move and also prevents the Times from being anti-competitive because I feel that the BCCL-HT Media deal should be refered to the MRTPC it has also emerged that the TV18 promoters might not actually hold too much of a stake in the new FT JV. It appears that while Pearson will hold 26%, TV18 (or any holding company) will hold just 15% and the journalists will hold 20%. The balance will be held by 'investors' and the public once the company is up and running. Now, as to the question why people are leaving, the sums of money assured are rumoured to be fantastic, but packages at the top are around Rs 2 crore annually with around Rs 1 crore 'sign-up'. Now, some numbers are fantastic, but those are even higher than what the senior guys at FT earn. Oh, and Papermint is so scared of the potential new scenario that they've given massive raises all around, losses be damned.
Now, why are all these top folks leaving? The story some will hear is about 'Private Treaties' and 'Honest Journalism'. Now, 'Honest Journalism' does not exist, but Private Treaties is a problem and SJ who treats managers like gold, has watched in amazement as some of his Private Treaties staff has created a Rs 2000 crore industry out of selling space, more money than they would have ever earned through advertising. The impact of Private Treaties is already evident in The Economic Times, and particularly their company pages which have become massive plugs. A Private Treaties 'client' who is a senior from college whom I met recently told me that this was the best way to get publicity for little cost and the amount of equity involved was miniscule, even though could be worth a ton if the company went public with a big-bang IPO. Sure enough, he claimed Private Treaties worked for him.
And the plans the Treaties folks have for Times is rather dramatic, I saw a PowerPoint recently which was rather frightening and will try and most a few screens from that if I can. However, this saga is not over as yet but the die has been cast.