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Zee Entertainment in talks with Comcast and Sony to sell stake

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Zee Entertainment in talks with Comcast and Sony to sell stake

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The promoters of the company are in talks with US media giant Comcast and Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation to sell over 50 percent of their holdings in the firm as a part of their asset monetisation to repay debt.

Promoters of Essel Group is in talks with potential investors to sell a part of its stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) and the top management of the company including chairman Subhash Chandra is in the US to discuss the deal, said sources familiar with the matter.
The promoters of the company are in talks with US media giant Comcast and Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation to sell over 50 percent of their holdings in the firm as a part of their asset monetisation to repay debt, sources told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity.
As on December 31, 2018, promoters held 41.62 percent stake in ZEEL.
Bids by both the companies are in the range of Rs 540-560 per share, sources said, adding that the promoters of ZEE may enter into an exclusive binding agreement this week.
The bidding by Comcast and Sony is higher by almost 24.13 percent from Thursday's closing price. Shares of ZEEL settled at Rs 433.30 apiece on the BSE, up 6.19 percent from its previous closing.
Comcast is yet to respond to CNBC-TV18's query, while Zee said they will not comment on any speculations.
Last week, a company official told PTI that promoters of ZEEL are open to sell over 50 percent of their holdings in the firm and are in talks with more than two investors for the same.
In November last year, Essel had announced that the company will sell a part of its stake in Zee Entertainment to a global strategic investor.
Essel group's promoter entities sold shares worth over Rs 1,050 crore in six listed group firms in open market between January 25 and February 1, 2019, for paying off lenders who were not part of an agreement to prevent declaration of default on loans against pledged shares.
On January 25, Essel group companies had come under massive selling pressure, plummeting up to 33 percent, and suffered a combined erosion of Rs 13,352 crore in market valuation.
On January 26, Essel group chairman Chandra said that his company is in a financial mess and has blamed the same for the aggressive bets on infra, which has gone out of control since the IL&FS crisis and also the acquisition of Videocon's D2H business.
Earlier sources familiar with the talks told CNBC-TV18 that Chinese investors such as Tencent and Alibaba are also shown interest in the digital content platform of  Zee Entertainment, ZEE5. US retail giant Amazon may also enter in the race, especially for the OTT (over the top) platform of Zee, they had said.
 
With inputs from PTI.
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