Subhash Chandra’s holding in Zee to fall below 1 per cent

New Delhi: Media baron Subhash Chandra will own less than 1 per cent of his group flagship Zee Entertainment after the share sale by lenders.

Chandra’s current holding is 22.39 per cent while the pledged shares are 21.48 per cent. Out of the tranche of pledges shares, the lenders have put in the escrow account 10.71 per cent of the shares. The rest is with VTB Bank.

The buyers of the shares are likely to be storied media conglomerates, Sony and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The value of the current holding is Rs 6,187 crore.

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Subhash Chandra’s stake after sale by lender’s will be 0.89 per cent. So, in effect, Subhash Chandra will own less than 1 per cent of Zee Entertainment. This would mean that with a miniscule percentage of holding, Chandra may lose influence over the company he founded.

The promoters of the company have been in constant dialogue with various prospective investors and lenders without any involvement of the company.

In September, the Essel Group announced the successful completion of the first tranche of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited’s (ZEEL) stake sale to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund.

As per the official communication issued in July 2019, the Essel Group had entered into an agreement to sell up to 11% promoter stake in ZEEL to the Fund.

“This development reaffirms the Group’s positive progress on its overall asset divestment approach undertaken, to generate adequate liquidity for the repayment process. The Group is also working actively on further divestments including its non-media assets and remains confident to complete the same”, Essel group had said.

In a disclosure filed in October, VTB had informed that pursuant to its rights under the loan facility and under instruction from the lenders, VTB has acquired the right to direct the sale of 10.71 per cent in the target company held by Essel Media Ventures.

In a board meeting held on Tuesday, Puneet Goenka, Chandra’s son has been reappointed as Managing Director & CEO of Zee Entertainment for a further period of five years upon conclusion of his present term, on December 31, with effect from January 1, 2020.

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