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Apple, Comcast, Sony Shortlisted For Stake Sale Talks By Zee Leisure

US cable main Comcast, which owns Newpaper24 Common, Atairos, a $4-billion funding firm led by former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, and Sony Corp have been shortlisted for talks that might result in the acquisition of a considerable stake in Zee Leisure, a number of folks conscious of the scenario mentioned.They’re competing with know-how large Apple and Reliance Industries, the one homegrown contender. The shortlist occurred previously 10 days after the submission of non-binding bids by these corporations. Comcast and Atairos could workforce as much as type a consortium.

Chinese language suitors Tencent and Alibaba, considered probably sturdy contenders initially, haven’t but made any supply.

“The due diligence is ongoing. Many of the negotiations, administration conferences are occurring offshore. A number of the discussions are extra critical whereas others are ready within the wings and preserving a detailed tab,” mentioned an trade official on situation of anonymity.

“The April deadline is on observe for now,” mentioned the official. Binding presents are due after that.A Zee spokesperson mentioned it doesn’t touch upon hypothesis. “As communicated in its official assertion, the stake sale means of ZEEL is in regular progress. “Any further particulars can’t be shared at this stage, resulting from confidentiality agreements,” he added. Comcast and Sony declined to remark.

Mails despatched to Atairos, Apple and Reliance didn’t generate a response until press time.

Sources mentioned Sony appears keener to purchase out the incumbent promoters upfront. Others akin to Comcast, Atairos or an Apple – that lack vital native footprint within the quick rising native tv and media leisure — could initially discover an equal stake with the promoters however purchase them out ultimately after 3-5 years following the transition, permitting them to piggyback on any future upside as properly.

The Zee administration feels a overseas purchaser, although allowed to personal 100% in leisure and media corporations, would need a native companion and administration workforce to run and navigate the complicated, multilingual home market.

Zee Leisure Enterprises had in November final yr introduced its promoters, led by Subhash Chandra, plan to promote as much as 50% of stake to a strategic companion so as to deleverage their stability sheet.

Subsequently, the administration has indicated it’s open to promoting over 50% of holdings within the agency as part of asset monetisation efforts.

Zee shares have misplaced 23% within the final one yr thereby partially impacting Subhash Chandra’s bargaining energy to hunt vital management premium. The present market cap is Rs 41,924.36 crore ($5.9 billion). The promoters personal 41.62% of the corporate held by onshore and offshore entities. About 84.45% of the onshore stake is pledged with banks and monetary establishments.

Native play

One of many early entrants into the satellite tv for pc tv area in India, Sony Photos Networks India (SPN) has not too long ago began aggressive enlargement into totally different genres. A few years in the past, it purchased the sports activities enterprise of Zee, housed underneath Taj Tv (Ten Sports activities model) for about Rs 2,400 crore. Final yr, the corporate additionally entered Marathi normal leisure area.

The acquisition of Zee will make plenty of sense for SPN, which has extra city attraction and presence in solely Hindi talking markets. Zee, however, has a deeper join with city in addition to regional markets and instructions over 20% of total tv viewership.

High Sony officers together with Mike Hopkins, chairman of Sony Photos Tv, and Tony Vinciquerra, chairman of Sony Photos Leisure, had visited Subhash Chandra and his household at his residence shortly after Chandra introduced his intent to promote half of the promoter holding in Zee to a world strategic investor.

The $84-billion Comcast, led by Brian Roberts, has been a serial purchaser and vendor of media property together with cable networks, broadband property, content material suppliers, web suppliers and even animation studios for the reason that late 1980s. It, nevertheless, misplaced out on 21st Century Fox after Walt Disney Co trumped their $65 billion bid final yr. The corporate has been scouting for property in India and different excessive progress markets.

Phonemaker Apple has been shopping for area of interest corporations and startups to get entry to cutting-edge know-how, merchandise and expertise to push its personal value-added choices like music, content material and leisure and deepen person engagement. In mid-2017, it explored shopping for the complete content material library of movies and music of Eros Worldwide, however the billion-dollar valuation grew to become a deal breaker.—Newspaper24

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