ZEE likely to sell 20% stake to Sony to help repay debts

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Sony Corporation is reportedly favourite to take a 20% stake in ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), to help the entertainment giant repay debts of over Rs. 13,000 crore.

Mint reports that Subhash Chandra, who helms ZEEL, is keen to sell the company’s stake at a premium of 30%. However, there is no confirmation on how much stake Chandra wishes to retain in the company. Currently, Essel Group holds 41.62% stake in ZEE but half of those are pledged with lenders.

A source told the publication, “He (Chandra) wants to have at least a 20% stake in the company. He wants it. So, that depends on what price he is getting. Almost 940 million shares are there. At Rs. 650 level, even if he sells 19%, he gets up to Rs. 13,000 crore, which will take care of the situation.”

No doubt, the sale will give the Japanese company’s Indian subsidiary deeper penetration into the Indian entertainment market. Interestingly, Sony’s India arm runs 26 channels, while ZEE operates 66 television channels across 171 countries.

If successful, the deal could be announced in a couple of weeks, ahead of the April 2019 deadline for ZEEL to repay its debts.

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