Stock market gives Zee a thumb up

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Even as the 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange (BE) opened today, the Zee stock moved upward as much as 8.32 per cent after the network bagged the BCCI telecast rights. Over 33 lakh Zee shares were traded on the BSE.

People would continue to debate for some times to come whether the Indian stock exchanges-listed Zee Telefilms and its promoter Subhash Chandra did the right thing by committing a whopping over $308 million to acquire the telecast rights of Indian cricket for four years. But the market today reacted positively to Sunday's development as Zee's stock prices soared with sizeable profit-taking happening.

On the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the Zee Telefilms scrip closed Monday at Rs 161.60, signifying a gain of Rs 2.80 or 1.76 per cent. The stock's previous closing figure was Rs 158.80. Similarly, on the National Stock Exchange, the scrip closed the day at Rs 161.65, up 1.86 per cent from the previous closing.

However, what is interesting is that the volume of trading on both the BSE (33,72,240) and the NSE (75,20,870) was certainly high. "Media bigwig Zee Telefilms has gained Rs 9 or 5.8 per cent at Rs 168 after the company bagged a four-year cricket telecast rights from BCCI at a revised bid of $308 million," was how, a financial markets portal, described the sentiments about the Zee scrip in its report on the start of the trading today.

Speaking to, Mumbai-based Suhash Naik, director, equity market, ING Investment Management, said that the reaction of the market shows that the Zee move has been taken as a "positive" one. He added that it also indicates that the market feels that if Sony has demonstrated that money could be made on cricket, Zee too can emulate it.

"The aggressiveness of ESPN Star Sports (which failed to get the rights from the cricket board) also demonstrates that it's a lucrative deal (for Zee)," Naik said.

Though Naik refused to comment whether the Zee scrip would be northward bound in days to come or not, a Delhi-based stock broker was more enthusiastic when he said, "If Zee makes the right sort of noises; I don't see why it should not be crossing the Rs 170 stage over the next 10 days."

That the cricket acquisition was being viewed positively, by and large, was also exemplified by the fact that for a brief during the day, the Zee scrip did get quoted at a high of Rs 171.70 on the BSE, while the corresponding figure on the NSE was Rs 171.85.

An examination of how the Zee scrip did over the last two months makes for interesting viewing. On 15 July, Zee closed at Rs 125.85. Over the next 15 days there was heavy buying on the scrip and by 3 August, it had shot up to Rs 139.40. By Friday, 13 August (the day before the news broke on Saturday, 14 August that Zee was the highest bidder for the India rights); the Zee share had fallen again to Rs 131.40. After that it has been virtually all up so much so that over the past fortnight Zee's market capitalisation had increased a whopping Rs 8.63 billion, markets analysts have pointed out.

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