Entertainment mogul Subhash Chandra's Essel Group, which is under pressure from creditors over Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited's finances, plans to sell part of its financial services business, media reports say.
The move is reportedly part of the Essel Group's broader efforts to deleverage its different businesses.
The group is talking to potential buyers to sell stakes in broadcaster Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and its road and solar power assets, the Mint website reports.
In a candid admission after Zee's share crashed more than 25 per cent on January 25, chairman Chandra admitted that the situation was a result of misplaced bets in infrastructure projects and the purchase of a rival satellite TV business.
"They are looking at the lending business and the mutual fund business," a company source told the website. "They have started reaching out to prospective buyers."
As the discussions are at an early stage the contours of the stake sale are hazy, according to the source.
The Essel Group has declined to comment media reports on plans to financial services stake sale.
The group's financial services arm runs businesses including foreign exchange, lending to small and medium businesses, home finance, mutual funds, wealth management, private equity and investment banking. However, there is still speculation which of the businesses the group is considering to hive off.
Essel Finance acquired Peerless Mutual Fund managing assets worth nearly Rs 1,000 crore in 2016.
As pressure from lenders mounted, the group announced a 50 per cent stake sale in Zee in November last year. The objective of the stake sale was stated to be to maximize long-term value and transform the company into a global media-tech player. Goldman Sachs (India) Securities was an investment banker for the sale and Lion Tree the international strategic adviser to manage the stake sale.
Essel Infraproject's solar power projects are also on the block for sale for an estimated Rs 6,000 crore, according to earlier media reports.
A report in the Mint last month said the Essel group had placed six road projects on the block and was seeking a combined enterprise value of Rs 11,500 crore.
The current frantic search for prospective buyers of the stake in various Essel group companies has been triggered pressure from lenders and the share market rout of Zee last month.
Chandra said at that time that his group was facing headwinds due to wrong bets in infrastructure, the acquisition of Videocon DTH business as well as a liquidity crisis that hit non-banking financial non-banks after defaults by IL&FS.
The share of the group's flagship company Zee made a comeback on Monday after the group said it had sealed a deal with its lenders for until the end-September to deleverage its balance sheet. The lenders hold pledged shares of Essel group's listed entities Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Dish TV India.