Media reports say US companies at the forefront for Zee stake deal

Zee CEO Punit Goenka, according to a media report, has said that no Indian company, including RIL, has started participating in the stake sale process yet

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Feb 4, 2019 12:02 PM Updated: Feb 4, 2019 12:02 PM
PunitGoenka

Stake sale of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited may happen sooner than the planned April deadline and there are high chances that it will go to a global company based out of the US. In an interview given to a leading  business newspaper, ZEE CEO Punit Goenka has reportedly said that US companies are at the “forefront” for the deal.  

The probable names are “within the set of names coming up in speculation,” he was reported as saying in the interview. Sony Pictures and Comcast are two leading names of global players doing the rounds. Goenka further said that contrary to media reports, RIL or no other Indian company has started participating in the process yet.

He also clarified that the recent Essel Group controversy did not affect the company's stake sale process. “I'm pretty confident this thing will happen even sooner than the April deadline, at least in terms of the agreements, etc,” he was quoted as saying.

Goenka said “he has spoken to all of them” so the fear that something would have spooked them is unfounded. “They understand that the intrinsic value of the asset is very much intact. There is not even an iota of doubt. The two issues (stake sale and developments at Essel Group) are very, very different,” he reportedly said.

Shedding more light on the matter, Goenka said he believes the crisis was “instigated”. “It was the bear cartel. It was... instigated. I think somebody used that opportunity to play the market and the bears kicked in,” he said.

Goenka further said that they had been complaining to stock exchanges for over the last six months. He said, “I did know if they are doing anything or not, but we truly believe these are not real market conditions, these are created conditions. If you track last five years’ data on ZEE’s open position and it becomes 4x in the last six months, something is wrong.”

He emphasised that in accordance with their official statement of January 25, Nityank Infrapower & Multiventures is an independent company and does not belong to Essel Group.

Goenka also said the company aims to complete the deleveraging process within the next six months.

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