Zee Media to seek shareholder nod to demerge DNA print business

MUMBAI: Print and TV news. For some that would make for a heady combination. But, not for the Essel group-promoted Zee Media Corp Ltd (ZMCL) which runs the Zee News channels as well as the newspaper DNA through a clutch of unlisted subsidiaries. DNA has a print edition in Mumbai and has launched in Delhi recently.

ZMCL is seeking shareholder approval (on 27 March in Mumbai) to demerge its DNA business (which is operated under Digital Media Corp Ltd - DMCL, MediaVest India Pvt Ltd and Pri-Media Services) from itself even as it merges another company Maurya TV (which runs the current affairs channel Zee Purvaiya) with itself. The scheme got ZMCL board approval earlier.

The carving out of the print media assets from ZMCL will result in its shareholders getting one DMCL share (face value of Re 1) for every four ZMCL shares (face value Re 1). The date for the demerger and amalgamation has been noted as 1 April 2017.

What’s compelling ZMCL and DMCL to take this step? According to its notice filing with the BSE over the weekend, the print and media businesses are run and managed differently and can attract a different set of investors, strategic partners, lenders and other stakeholders. This apart, FDI regulations permit 26 per cent foreign investment in print and 49 per cent in news TV after government approvals.

While ZMCL had revenues of around Rs 394 crore in the year to 31 March 2016, DMCL reported a topline of around Rs 110 crore in the same period, according to the filing with the BSE. The latter had a loss of Rs 8.72 crore for the same period while the former had a net profit of Rs 18.75 crore.

The group is proposing to list DMCL on the stock exchanges on getting shareholder and other regulatory and listing approvals.

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