ZEE gets one binding offer for stake sale: Punit Goenka


MUMBAI: Promoters of the Indian media and entertainment company Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) have received one binding agreement for purchase of stake in the company, ZEE managing director Punit Goenka told ET.

After announcing strong financial results for the first quarter of the fiscal ended June 30, 2019, where the profit after tax has zoomed in by 63 per cent to Rs 530.6 crore,Goenka added that the stake sale process is in an advanced stage, with the decision to be announced in “a few days”.

“One binding offer has been received and we are expecting to receive another offer in a couple of days. A decision will be made once both deals are evaluated. We will make announcement in a few days,” Goenka said.

He added that if the second offer does not come, the company will go ahead with the offer on the table.

While Goenka refused to share any more details, people close to development said that a large South Indian TV broadcasting network and a global hedge fund have also shown interest in ZEE. ET first reported on July 4 that Atairos, a $4-billion investment company led by former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, is looking to team up with PE fund Blackstone and James Murdoch’s family office Lupa Systems to bid for ZEE.

ET in its February 19 edition had reported about Comcast-Atairos teaming up for the Subhash Chandra flagship. Subsequently, Lupa and Blackstone joined the group.

One of the persons stated that the consortium was expected to pick up between 21-25 per cent stake, keeping Subhash Chandra as the single largest shareholder. “There might be a chance of an open offer, but it is not mandatory,” he said.

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The deal could be signed at Rs 430-450 per share, he added.

A binding offer refers to an offer made by a bidder to acquire a target company after the due diligence phase of a sale process is complete. This offer constitutes a formal contract between the bidder and seller if the seller accepts the bidder’s terms.

The deal will give a breather to Chandra, whose Essel Group is facing severe debt crisis. Chandra had, last year, announced his plans to sell half of promoters then 41 per cent stake in the company.

As per June 2019, disclosures, the promoters own 35.79 per cent of the company of which 63.98 per cent are pledged.

ZEE had entered into an agreement with the lenders, where more than 90 per cent of lenders have given the company time till September to sell stake and agreed not to invoke pledges till then.

ZEE is one of the largest television broadcasting companies of India, which owns 66 television channels across 171 countries, reaching over 1.3 billion people globally.

ZEE shares were closed at Rs 360.95 apiece, down 0.66 per cent on BSE on Tuesday.





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