Times group offloads Mid-Day stake in the open market

MUMBAI: The signals are mixed, but they undoubtedly are there. While one media company announced a 10 per cent buy out of equity stake in Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd (MML) for Rs 255.4 million, another one sold part of its shareholding in Mid-Day late last week.


Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), which had acquired 7.72 per cent equity stake in MML a while back, offloaded 13,88,313 shares of Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd in the open market.

The BCCL deal that took place on 4 March, a day after The Indian Express picked up 10 per cent stake in the company, was struck at Rs 85.69 per share.



BCCL, which owns The Times of India and other popular print publications, carried out the deal through Banhem Financial & Investment Consultants Limited, an investment arm of the media company. After the sale of shares, its holding in Mid-Day Multimedia, along with Dharmayug Investments Limited, is 22,95,466 shares, according to a posting on the National Stock Exchange.

On being queried on the sale and purchase of Mid-Day shares, Mid-Day Multimedia MD Tariq Ansari did not offer any comments. To another query on whether there could be some synergy between Mid-Day and the Express, Ansari said through e-mail, " Yes it will. A committee is being formed to evaluate the process and put together a proposal for the company's board to consider."

A media stock analyst with a Mumbai-based investment company, while commenting on sale of Mid-Day shares by BCCL, opined that the shedding of Times group stake is indicative of "reduced possibilities between two media corporate houses ( Times and Express ) for fight of control in MML in the immediate future."

On 3 March, Mid-Day had informed the stock exchange that The Indian Express has bought 10 per cent equity in the company for Rs 255.4 million.

The promoters of Mid-Day (through companies Ferari Investments and Trading and Meridian Holding and Leasing) have agreed to sell 42,56,628 shares of the company at a price of Rs 60 per share to The Indian Express. The post transaction holding of the promoters would be 53.6 per cent.


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