HT Media IPO oversubscribed

NEW DELHI: The initial public offering of HT Media Ltd (HT), which controls Hindustan Times newspaper published from several cities, received an overwhelming response from the market and got fully subscribed today within the first 10 minutes of its opening, market sources said.


Most bids for the offering of up to 7.6 million shares were at the top end of a previously fixed price band of Rs. 445-530, wire agencies reported.

The IPO, which will raise up to Rs 4.03 billion, comprises a fresh issue of 4.64 million shares from HT and 2.36 million sold by Henderson Private Capital (Mauritius), representing a near-five-per cent dilution by the private equity firm, which owns about 15 per cent in the firm.

The entire issue, if a green shoe option of 600,000 shares is also sold, will represent 16.33 per cent of the post-issue capital of the New Delhi-based company, the reports said.

The lead manager to the issue is Kotak Mahindra Capital. The equity shares offered are proposed to list on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.



The KK Birla-controlled HT publishes the Hindustan Times English language daily in New Delhi and some other north Indian cities. Recently, it launched in Mumbai, considered the country's biggest advertising market. HT derives nearly 79 per cent of its revenues from advertising.

HT Media, which has signed an agreement with Richard Branson-controlled Virgin, proposes to make forays in the private FM radio space along with its foreign partner.

However, some market pundits feel that the IPO is over priced. Financial portal quoted Ashok Kumar of Lotus Knowlwealth as saying that HT?s IPO is expensively priced as compared to other offerings from this sector.

Not very many newspaper companies are listed on the stock markets in India.

Still, in the recent past, some media stocks like NDTV, TV Today, BAG Films, Deccan Chronicle, Mid-day Multimedia and Television Eighteen Ltd have received enthusiastic response from the market.

According to Lotus Knowlwealth?s Kumar, "Looking at the valuation on a conventional basis, the IPO is obviously expensive. Deccan Chronicle's issue, which was also a media issue, of course dipped below the issue price but thereafter it has run up. So typically there is lot of momentum in the print media segment and it is also driven by the increase in FDI, which could be increased even further."

He further added that HT is the second best print media brand (to go public this year) and overall things are pretty positive in the print media segment, which is where the pricing is coming from, because there is no other rational explanation for the stretched pricing."

HT Media has admitted proceeds of the IPO will be used to fund acquisition and new editions mainly in Hindi.

As of 31 December, 2004, the company?s total asset were Rs 6.81 billion and for the nine months from 1 April, 2004 to 31 December, 2004, its total revenue was Rs 4.73 billion and net profit after tax was Rs 182.1 million.

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