Yesterday, in Part 1, we learnt about the scale and business performance of Bennett Coleman & Co (BCCL). The holding company, its subsidiaries and associates. Everything that makes the Times Group a Rs 10,000 crore media powerhouse. If you haven’t read it already, we suggest you do.   

Today, let’s start with a puzzle. What’s commonly referred to as the ‘what’s common between’ puzzle. So, what’s common between the companies listed below? As you scroll, you will notice companies that you’ve read about, a lot or whose advertisements you have spotted, a lot in The Times of India, The Economic Times, Radio Mirchi, indiatimes.com, Vijay Karnataka or any of the several media outlets owned by the Times Group. Keep in mind, these companies aren’t run of the mill. Three of them are Unicorns, last valued at more than $1 billion each. One company is a real estate giant, which is building the tallest residential tower in India. Another entity is a hair transplant wish maker. Another is one of the largest luxury car manufacturers in the world. So, below:

  • Quikr
  • Snapdeal
  • Flipkart
  • Zoomcar
  • Meru
  • Yepme
  • Yatra
  • Gionee
  • Tapzo
  • Infibeam
  • Portea Medical
  • Lodha Group
  • Videocon Group
  • Amity University
  • Richfeel hair transplant
  • HDFC Mutual Funds
  • Bombay Stock Exchange Limited
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Gitanjali Gems

What’s common between them? The Times Group. Or Brand Capital.

This division of the company is the octopus; its arms are everywhere. From startups to real estate to health, financial services and education, just to name a few. While several of the group’s media properties write about these companies almost every day; Brand Capital has an equity stake in these companies. In quite a few real estate deals, the barter is for apartments in exchange for advertisements. Sometimes, there is a disclosure in the stories. Many a times there isn’t, hidden behind the excuse that ‘Hey, look for yourself, we’ve put out names of the companies Brand Capital has a stake in, on our website’.

Of the several people The Ken reached out, few wanted to comment on record on Brand Capital, but they had a lot to say privately. “I can’t imagine taking a stake in a company which I need to cover,” said the head of a media group, who requested not to be identified.