The Essel Group, the promoters of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) — one of the largest Indian media and entertainment companies — has decided to sell up to 50% of its stake to a strategic partner that could help the company have a global footprint while reiterating India remains a priority market for the group. The Essel group holds 41.62% stake in ZEEL.
In an interaction with The Hindu , Punit Goenka MD & CEO, ZEEL, said the company is looking for a global strategic partner which will help them expand in overseas markets.
“Given our strong footing [domestically], we believe towards fulfilling our global ambitions specially in the rapidly converging world of content technology. We need a strong strategic partner with strong technology and global reach which will help us in achieving our ambition faster and we can scale newer heights much faster,” Mr. Goenka said.
Transforming the firm
“And, this will then transform the company from a pure content company to a content technology company which is armed to thrive in the current world of digital,” he said.
The move comes after the Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra and his family along with advisers met for a strategic review of the business over the Diwali weekend. The review took note of the role of technology in the media and entertainment space.
Goldman Sachs Securities (India) Ltd has been appointed as the investment banker for the proposed deal. and US and European based LionTree as an international strategic advisor, the group said in statement. The transaction is expected to be concluded by March-April 2019.
When asked about expected valuation of he deal, Mr. Goenka said the deal have to be an off-the-market valuation.
“This cannot be on the current market pricing because the opportunity we represent for the partner is unique … given that to enter a market now on a greenfield basis will be far slower and far more expensive than a potential partnership with someone like Zee,” said. He added protecting minority shareholders interest in a priority and that has been factored into the decision making.
Shares of ZEEL, which has a market cap of ₹42,087.64 crore, ended almost flat at ₹438.20 at the BSE on Tuesday.