SET India looking to revive IPO plans

NEW DELHI: With conditional access all but consigned to limbo bar an official announcement, television companies have started turning their attention to other issues.

Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India, a joint venture between Columbia TriStar, a Sony company, and a clutch of Indian shareholders, is all set to restart the process of preparing for an initial public offer (IPO) in India.

Even while pointing out that the climate for an IPO is still "not good", SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta maintained, "We have been so busy with CAS for the last seven or eight months, that we could not concentrate on the (IPO) issue. Now that things have cleared (aroound CAS), work will start on it."

According to Dasgupta, before an IPO is done, detailed background work has to be completed, including building up of business and the financial performance of the company. "With CAS almost behind us, there was total confusion; now we can concentrate on our work," Dasgupta said.

He informed that before an IPO takes place, SET's Indian entity would have to merge with the Singapore entity, which is the actual broadcasting company. This would enable the valuation of the company to go up. "That (merger) work too, had been held up because of CAS," Dasgupta said, explaining that things would be set in motion once again.

However, he refused to give a time frame for an IPO, stating that such things cannot be predicted. Last year, while announcing the launch of a marriage-related show featuring Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit -- termed by Dasgupta today as the "biggest flop" - the SET India CEO had said that active work had started on the IPO and that it would entail merging of the Singapore and Indian entities.

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