Even as Essel Group plans to sell a further stake to financial investors, Anand Mahindra has words of praise for promoter Subhash Chandra. Despite the group passing through challenging times, Subhash Chandra would continue to show his entrepreneurial courage and steer the group to safety, Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group said. “Subhash Chandra saw the future of Indian Television & single-handedly created the country’s first media & entertainment empire. One stumble will not deter him & his entrepreneurial courage has always been admirable. May he steer his ship to safe harbour..,” Anand Mahindra tweeted on Friday.
On Wednesday, Essel Group, the promoter entity of Zee Entertainment said that it plans to sell 16.5 per cent stake in broadcasting and cable TV operator to financial investors including GIC Pvt Ltd, BlackRock, HSBC Global, Wellington Management as well as SBI Mutual Fund and Reliance Mutual Fund. “The Essel Group seeks to sell up to 16.5 per cent stake in ZEEL to financial investors, in order to repay loan obligations to certain lenders of the Group for whose benefit such shares are currently encumbered (and who have consented to such share sale by the Group),” Zee Entertainment said in an exchange filing after market hours on Wednesday.
Post the deal, the Subhash Chandra-backed Essel Group will become a minority shareholder, however, retaining management control. Essel Group, earlier this year, sold up to 11 per cent in Zee Entertainment to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund for just over Rs 4,000 crore. In 1992, India’s first satellite TV channel Zee TV began operations under the leadership of Subhash Chandra. The TV network at present consists of up to 90 channels.