With global expansion on the mind, Media and entertainment conglomerate Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd has decided to divest up to 50 percent of promoter's holding in the company.
The move is expected to help the entertainment behemoth to maximize its long-term value and become a global media tech player. The company has an ambitious plan of offering content for audiences in more than 170 countries.
Zee was founded in 1992 and has become a pioneer in private broadcasting in India. Over the years the rise of Zee has been exceptional with growing from a single Hindi language channel to 37 channels across 5 categories that include news and entertainment.
Presently, it also has 39 channels in the international market and it recently launched ZEE5, a video-on-demand platform. The company has registered a profit of Rs 1,477.8 crore on a revenue of Rs 6,685.7 crore on the consolidated basis in the fiscal year 2017-18.
The Essel group which controls Zee entertainment would be appointing Goldman Sachs as their investment banker and LionTree as an international strategic advisor for the smooth execution of the disinvestment process.
The company expects to conclude the entire process by March/April 2019. In a statement, the company said that "Essel expects the outcome of the strategic review to be concluded by March/April 2019. We hope that this transaction will meet the objectives of the Essel Group as well as the minority shareholders of ZEEL."
As on September 30, promoter's hold 41.6 percemt in Zee out of which 59 percent shares are currently pledged. After the promoters, Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) holds the maximum share at approximately 42 percent. Major FPIs include Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, Vanguard International Growth Fund, Virtus Vontobel Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund, Government Of Singapore and Kuwait Investment Authority.
The promoter of the company Subhas Chandra and its advisors recently met in Mumbai to undertake a strategic review of its businesses with a global expansion in mind. Zee with it's strong linear and digital distribution network has already become a significant presence in South Asia but the company now plans to go global.