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Essel Group may divest up to 50% of promoter share in Zee Entertainment

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Mumbai : Subhash Chandra, a pioneer in satellite broadcasting in India, is likely to divest a chunk of his stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL), India’s first home-grown private broadcast network.

The Essel Group, which holds 41.6 per cent in the media and entertainment company, is looking to divest up to 50 per cent of its promoter share (approximately 20.8 per cent of the whole) in the entertainment firm. At today’s value, the promoters’ 41.6 per cent stake is worth Rs 175 billion.

In a statement released to the stock exchanges, the promoters said: “It has been decided to undertake a strategic review of Essel’s shareholding in ZEEL with a view to maximise value for the business.

 

The proposed transaction to divest up to 50 per cent of Essel’s holding to such a partner, is expected to address Essel Group’s capital allocation priorities and will allow ZEEL shareholders to capture the full value of India’s largest entertainment broadcaster with an ever strengthening bouquet.”

Essel Group to divest up to 50% of promoter share in Zee Entertainment Essel has appointed Goldman Sachs Securities (India) its investment banker and New York-based boutique investment bank LionTree, which specialises in mergers and acquisitions, international strategic advisor for this exercise.Essel expects the outcome of the strategic review to be concluded by March-April next year.

The changing media landscape, technological advancements and convergence are some of the reasons the promoters decided to undertake the strategic review of shareholding. Chandra and his family, along with advisors, had met during the Diwali weekend to undertake a strategic review of its businesses. The family realised it needed “to accelerate efforts to stay ahead of fast-changing trends”.

The ZEEL promoters identified two main gaps in the business — investment in technology in an era of convergence and access to the global stage. The company is thus focusing on a strategic partner which has a strong presence in the global media and entertainment tech space.

“We hope this transaction will meet the objectives of the Essel Group as well as the minority shareholders of ZEEL …. Regardless of the outcome of this exercise, Essel is committed to create significant long term value in ZEEL,” the statement added.

Essel Group to divest up to 50% of promoter share in Zee Entertainment Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Punit Goenka said: “While we could have acquired a tech company, it would have taken several more years of investment to catch up and compete with global players. Instead, we feel that partnering one of the leaders will give us better and faster access to their technological capabilities and the global market, while ZEEL in turn can provide the partner access to the Indian market.” He added ZEEL was in talks with potential partners through investment bankers.Punit Goenka and Amit Goenka, chief executive officer, international broadcast business, ZEEL, are Subhash Chandra’s sons.

The promoters’ meeting had noted that with the current 1.3 billion viewers globally and close to 50 million digital viewers growing at a fast pace, ZEEL is well placed to benefit from current market trends due to its strong brand and bouquet of domestic and international channels. Adding to that strength, its OTT platform ZEE5 will further enable the company to leverage the benefits of changing video consumption trends, contributing significantly over the coming years.

The management of ZEEL under Punit and Amit Goenka has been well appreciated by all stakeholders and reflected in the performance of the company, the statement said.

Speaking on where the business stands today, Jawahar Goel said: “Punit and Amit have made the right sustainable investments for the future and the business is growing ahead on all fronts in a focused and disciplined way.” Goel, chairman and managing director of group company Dish TV, is Subhash Chandra’s younger brother.

ZEEL reported revenues of Rs 16.77 billion for the quarter ended September 2018, while the net profit stood at Rs 3.77 billion.

When asked if the move to divest promoter stake is also a way to prepare for the emergence of Reliance Jio as a competitor in the distribution and entertainment space, Punit Goenka said, “We have had competitors with deep pockets earlier as well. Fox (Star India) had deep pockets and so did Viacom (Viacom18 in India). This move is more about getting access to global technology and evolving into a media tech company as efficiently as possible.”


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Business

Air India to start new domestic and international flights from next month

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Air India on Wednesday announced that various new flights would begin from next month on domestic as well as international routes in order to meet heavy demand of seats during the summer vacation.

The national carrier said it will offer additional 3,500 seats per week on Mumbai-Dubai-Mumbai route from June 1.

Moreover, it will offer additional 3,500 seats per week on Delhi-Dubai-Delhi route too from June 2 by operating two new flights using its B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

 

“The airline will offer one way Economy class promotional fare of Rs 7777 (all inclusive) from both Delhi and Mumbai to Dubai for sale and travel up to July 31, 2019,” Air India said in a statement.

On its domestic front, Air India said it will introduce new flights on Bhopal-Pune-Bhopal route and Varanasi-Chennai-Varanasi route from June 5.

“The number of flights on Delhi-Bhopal-Delhi will be increased from present 14 flights per week to 20 flights per week by introducing third frequency to the historical city of Tals,” the statement added.

The national carrier would be increasing its flights on Delhi-Raipur-Delhi route from existing seven flights per week to 14 flights per week.

According to Air India, the number of flights per week would be increased on routes such as Delhi-Bengaluru-Delhi, Delhi-Amritsar-Delhi, Chennai-Ahmedabad-Chennai and Chennai-Kolkata-Chennai.

The flights per week would also be increased on Delhi-Vadodara-Delhi route and Mumbai-Vizag-Mumbai route, the statement added.

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Sensex gains 140 pts ahead of election outcome

Press Trust of India

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex jumped 140 points Wednesday, driven by gains in banking and auto stocks ahead of the general election results.

After swinging over 300 points during the day, the 30-share index ended 140.41 points, or 0.36 per cent, higher at 39,110.21. The gauge hit an intra-day high of 39,249.08 and a low of 38,903.87.

In similar movement, the broader NSE Nifty rose 28.80 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 11,737.90.

 

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 4.84 per cent, followed by Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, Bharti Airtel, Coal India, Tata Motors, SBI, ICICI Bank, Hero MotoCorp, ONGC, HDFC, Vedanta, L&T, Kotak Bank, Maruti and Axis Bank, ending up to 2.92 per cent higher.

On the other hand, Yes Bank, ITC, PowerGrid, TCS and HUL ended in the red, slipping up to 2.34 per cent.

According to experts, investor sentiment turned positive this week after most exit polls forecast a win for the Narendra Modi-led NDA. The results of the seven-phased polls will come out Thursday.

Unabated foreign fund inflows too buoyed market mood here, traders said.

Foreign institutional investors net bought equities worth Rs 1,185.44 crore on Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors sold shares to the tune of Rs 1,090.32 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee appreciated marginally to 69.68 against the US dollar.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading at USD 71.72 per barrel, higher by 0.64 per cent.

Globally, bourses in Asia ended on a mixed note, while those in Europe were trading in the green in early deals.

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Database inadvertently exposed but did not include personal data: Chtrbox

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Mumbai-based Chtrbox, which was allegedly responsible for leaking data of millions of Instagram users, has said database for a limited number of influencers was inadvertently exposed but that did not include any sensitive personal data.

The company termed the reports of private data being leaked as “inaccurate” and acknowledged that “a particular database for limited influencers was inadvertently exposed for approximately 72 hours”.

“This database did not include any sensitive personal data and only contained information available from the public domain, or self reported by influencers,” it said in a statement late Tuesday night.

 

On Tuesday, Facebook-owned Instagram said it is investigating whether a third-party – Chtrbox – improperly stored its user data in violation of its policies after reports that information of millions of users being available online allegedly in an unsecured database emerged.

These reports said the database found online – with over 49 million records – contained information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts. The database was allegedly traced back to Chtrbox.

The reports had said apart from public data (like bio, profile picture and number of followers), the database also allegedly contained users’ private contact information such as email address and phone number.

An Instagram spokesperson had said the company is “investigating whether a third party improperly stored Instagram data, in violation of our policies. It’s also not clear whether the phone numbers and e-mails in Chtrbox’s database came from Instagram”.

Chtrbox, in its statement, asserted that no personal data has been sourced through unethical means by the company.

“Our database is for internal research use only, we have never sold individual data or our database, and we have never purchased hacked-data resulting from social media platform breaches. Our use of our database is limited to help our team connect with the right influencers to support influencers to monetize their online presence, and help brands create great content,” it added.

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