Essel Group, which is the holding company of the Zee media empire, has sold an 11 per cent stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd to Invesco, for $635 million (€567.7m).
There had been considerable speculation that a bid from a Comcast-led consortium which included James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems plus investment houses Atarios and Blackstone Grp, had pitched for 51 per cent control of ZEEL.
The new buyers is Invesco’s Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund means that Subhash Chandra and his family can retain control of the broadcast business while dramatically improving Essel’s financial position. Essel owned 42 per cent of ZEEL but has some $2.4 billion in debts and borrowings.
Invesco is already a shareholder in ZEEL.
ZEEL operates some 66 linear TV channels in 171 countries as well as a rapidly expanding streaming platform ZEE5, and is India’s largest private broadcaster with reported profits of $228 million.
“I’m extremely glad to share that the fund as a financial investor has further reposed its faith in ZEEL. It also gives me immense pleasure to note their strong belief and trust in the intrinsic value of our precious asset. It is the valuable belief and support of our esteemed financial investors that enables us to consistently generate great value, year after year,” said Punit Goenka, MD/CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises.