Television

Sivasankaran buys 14.98 % in Sahara One for Rs 1.2 billion

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MUMBAI: If the news and radio space swung into acquisition mode early this year, it is the other areas of media business which are now attracting investors. NRI businessman C Sivasankaran is pumping in Rs 1.2 billion to acquire 14.98 per cent stake in Sahara One Media & Entertainment Ltd.

Indiantelevision.com had earlier reported that Sivasankaran was in talks to put in around Rs 1.2 billion for a minority stake in Sahara One. Ernst & Young had valued the company at Rs 7 billion.

Sahara One will make a preferential allotment of 32,25,000 shares (of Rs 10 each) at Rs 372 per share to Aircel Televentures Ltd (Sivasankaran's company). With this divestment, the promoters will hold 73 per cent, according to a Sahara Group spokesperson.

BCCL’s (Times Group holding company Bennet Coleman & Co Ltd) stake will be less than 6 per cent and Aircel Televentures will have 14.98 per cent while the rest will be with the public.

"Aircel Televentures has recognized the potential of the movies and TV business in which Sahara One operates and agreed to invest. The funds generated through this move will be utilised in expanding our business in movie and television business," the spokesperson said.

The Sahara One board has approved the proposal of issuing the equity shares to Aircel Televentures on preferential basis. The board, which met today, has also called for an Extraordinary General Meeting of the company on 8 May. The shares will be issued subject to shareholders' approval.

Sahara is also planning to raise up to $50 million, for which it has obtained an enabling resolution. "Sivasankaran's investments will be used for expanding the business. We also plan to raise up to $50 million," a company executive said.

Sahara is launching a music channel, adding up to a bouquet of general entertainment and movie channels. Sahara Group also owns a string of news channels.

Sivsankaran's first media investment was in ETC Networks where he held 40 per cent stake. He went on diluting equity and exited from the company which was later acquired by Zee Telefilms.

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