Mumbai: Oil and gas major Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) denied on Tuesday a media report that the company was interested in buying a stake in TV firm Network 18(NEFI.NS).

Shares in Network 18 jumped 20 percent early on Tuesday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Reliance head Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, was seeking to buy a stake.

"We deny that we have any interest in picking up a stake in Network 18," a Reliance spokesman said.

He declined to comment on whether Ambani, with a personal wealth of USD 22.6 billion according to Forbes Magazine, was interested in acquiring a personal stake in the firm. The report, citing unnamed sources, was ambiguous on how the stake would be bought.

Shares in the company, which broadcasts CNBC, MTV and CNN in India, had pared early gains to trade at 40 rupees, up 10.8 percent at 1145 am (0615 GMT), in a Mumbai market that was trading down 0.1 percent.

(Agencies)