Putting all speculations to rest, the Usha Martin Group, owner of Jharkhand’s leading Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar, has finally taken a call on the fate of the paper. They have decided not to sell the paper. At least for now. The decision was taken on Tuesday, February 13, 2007.
Rajeev Jhawar, Managing Director, Usha Martin Group, met key people from the newspaper on February 12 in Ranchi. Following the appeals and seeing the emotional attachment of the employees with the paper, the owners decided not to sell out.
When contacted, Jhawar said, “I met key people from the paper on Monday. After meeting them and going by their sentiments, the family has decided not to sell the paper. We have decided to put on hold the entire process.”
“Earlier we had decided to divest a portion of our stake but now we have taken a final call. We have decided against selling and will continue to run the business,” he added.
The entire process started a couple of months ago when the Usha Martin Group initially decided to dilute a portion of its stake. The Times of India Group, HT Media, Jagran Group, Bhaskar Group, Amar Ujala, ABP Limited and Nai Dunia were among the players that showed interest in the paper.
As things progressed, there were reports in sections of the media suggesting that Bhaskar and Jagran were frontrunners to buy Prabhat Khabar. There were reports to the extent that Bhaskar had acquired 70 per cent stake in the paper. About a fortnight ago, the market was rife with speculation that Jagran had emerged as the winner, and it was reported as much by sections of the media.
Then, for the past week, speculation began to do the rounds that Bhaskar was out of the reckoning and Jagran was the likely buyer.
However, this week, things have totally turned around. Going by the appeals, the sentiments and the attachment of the employees who have been associated with the paper for the last 18-20 years, the Jhawars decided against selling.
The paper has come a long way since its inception and over time has given tough competition to other players. When asked about the future course of action, Jhawar said, “Prabhat Khabar is a profitable paper. We will continue to grow the paper and make it stronger.”
KK Goenka, Vice-president, Prabhat Khabar, expressed his happiness over the management’s decision. He said, “The credit goes to the management. They considered the sentiments of the people and decided in their favour. Going forward, we will take all steps to grow the paper.”
Prabhat Khabar has seven editions -- Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Patna, Kolkata, Deoghar and Siliguri.