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ZEEL likely to sell 20% to Sony Corp

The talks have reached the valuation stage.

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MUMBAI: Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corp is in advanced talks with Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) to buy a stake in the firm. As the company has been struggling to raise funds to pay huge debt, Chandra is looking to sell 20-25 per cent stake.

According to a report by Mint, the entire amount raised through the stake sale would be used to repay promoter debt worth Rs 13,000 crore. The report also added that the talks have reached the valuation stage wherein Subhash Chandra wants to sell the stake at a premium of about 30 per cent. But the total stake that promoter Subhash Chandra wants to retain in Zee may be a concern for the deal.

Essel Group holds 41.62 percent stake in ZEEL and more than half of the stake is pledged with lenders, as per latest data. Sony wanted to pick up at least 25 per cent, which would also allow it to have promoter rights, the report said.

The deal with ZEEL will be a great boost for Sony to strengthen its foothold in India. Along with a strong television business, the firm’s OTT platform ZEE5 also gained good traction in a short span.

Earlier too, analysts predicted that that it would command a huge premium by virtue of being the most profitable media company. However, the current crisis may not allow it to do so giving potential buyers chances for negotiation.

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