ZEEL stake sale process is at an advanced stage: Essel Group

MUMBAI: Essel Group has informed that the stake sale process of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) is at an advanced stage. “The stake sale process of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd undertaken by Essel Group is in steady progress and at an advanced stage,” Essel Group said in a statement.

The group further stated that it cannot share any additional details at this stage due to confidentiality agreements.

ZEEL had announced in November last year that its promoters, led by Subhash Chandra, planned to sell up to 50% of their equity stake in the company to a strategic partner.

Last month it was reported by Bloomberg that Mittal’s Bharti Airtel had started due diligence of ZEEL and is expected to make a formal proposal soon. The report also quoted unnamed individuals as saying that Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm is also considering a bid.

In January, the Essel Group had sealed a formal agreement with its lenders, under which it gets time till September to deleverage or pare its debt. On 25th January, Essel group companies saw a combined erosion of Rs 13,352 crore in market valuation following reports that a promoter entity is being probed for cash deposits after demonetisation.

On 26th January, Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra had promised that he will clear the debt of lenders by selling promoter stake in his crown jewel ZEEL. He had also admitted having made wrong decisions like making incorrect bids in the infrastructure business and the merger of direct to home (DTH) operator Videocon d2h with Dish TV. He had also alleged that some negative forces are out to sabotage his efforts to raise money through a strategic sale in the flagship company ZEEL.