Television

Gemini, Udaya to be merged into Sun?

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MUMBAI : The market is expecting founder-promoter Kalanithi Maran to merge the affiliate companies, Udaya TV Pvt Ltd and Gemini TV Pvt Ltd, where he has significant equity interests, with Sun TV Ltd.

Maran had early this year raised Rs 6.03 billion through a public float of Sun TV which included the Tamil and Malayalam channels. But he kept his popular channels in Telugu and Kannada outside the ambit of the initial public offering (IPO) as they were under separate entities and had other minority stakeholders.
The speculation in stock trading circles is that the decision would soon be taken to merge the two profit-making companies with Sun TV, offering investors a width of strong channels across the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

The rumour comes at a time when Sun TV has made an announcement in the BSE that its board would be meeting on 27 November to "consider the proposed merger of satellite television broadcasting companies."

The stock would see a sigificant boost if "these rumours" turn out to be true. "The valuation of the company will shoot up if Gemini and Udaya are merged with Sun. It is not only the topline which will inflate but the bottomline will also continue to be strong," stock market analysts say.

Indiantelevision.com's attempt to reach senior executives in Sun TV to get an official confirmation proved futile. Maran was also not available for comment.

The equity shares of Udaya TV, as of 7 March 2006, are held by Maran (66.67), S. Selvam (16.67 per cent) and S Selvi (16.66 per cent). In Gemini, Maran has 26.5 per cent, Kal Communication (a promoter Group company), 23.5 per cent, K Bharathi 30 per cent, Indira Anand 16 per cent and A Sai Siva Jyoti 4 per cent.

Before going for an IPO, Maran consolidated his ownership position by buying out entire stakes of Sharad Kumar and Dayalu Ammal (wife of DMK president M Karunanidhi). Analysts say he will try to do the same thing by buying out the minor partners in Gemini and Udaya before he decides to merge these two companies with Sun TV.

"We don't know if he also already bought out the stakes. If he has, the path is clear for him to go ahead with the merger," an analyst in a brokering firm says.

What is further fuelling the speculation is that Maran has recently consolidated the Telugu and Kannada channels under the Gemini and Udaya brands respectively. Teja News has been renamed Gemini News and Aditya TV as Gemini Music. Ushe TV, similarly, is now called Udaya Movies.

Gemini and Udaya already share a business relationship with Sun TV Ltd. For instance, the approvals for uplinking Udaya News, Ushe TV, Aditya TV and Teja News have been granted in the name of Sun TV Ltd.

Maran also has the option of consolidating Gemini and Udaya's financials and taking them for an IPO. "This, however, is not what the market is expecting. We believe these two companies will merge with Sun TV to create a media behemoth," analysts say.

The Sun TV scrip opened the trading day at Rs 1361.55, reached a high of Rs 1389 and closed at Rs 1363.85.

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