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News Corp Exits Hathway; Sells 17.3% Stake For Rs 358 Crore

News Corp’s wholly owned subsidiary Star India has exited from Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited by selling off its 17.3% stake to two foreign funds, the US-based Providence Equity Advisors and Sydney-headquartered Macquarie Bank for Rs 358 crore, reports Economic Times.

While the reason for selling the stake is yet unknown, Asian Cable Systems Limited, News Corp’s subsidiary had stated in a stock exchange filing with the NSE, that it has sold 24,715,500 equity shares, constituting 17.3% of total equity shares in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited, in open market for Rs 3583989711.90 (Rs 358 Crore) to Macquarie Securities(India) Pvt Ltd.

The reports states that both the transactions happened through a series of separate bulk deals at Rs 145 per share. While, Macquarie Bank bought nearly 1.05 crore shares for around Rs 153 crore, Providence Equity Advisors bought the remaining 1.41 crore shares for about Rs 205 crore.

In 2000, Star India had bought 26% stake in Hathway as a promoter entity, thus becoming the biggest shareholder in the company, however post Hathway’s IPO, the company’s stake had dropped to 17.30 percent. As of December 31, 2011, Asian Cable Systems held 17.3% stake followed by promoter Akshay Rajan Raheja who owned 17%, Viren Rajan Raheja who had a 16.74% stake, Hathway Investments Ltd which had a 10.47% stake and Spur Cable & Datacom Pvt Ltd which had a 5.36% stake.

19.76% stake was held by foreign institutional investors, mutual funds and other entities including Franklin Templeton India which held 2,083,425 shares, DSP Blackrock Group which held 1187550 shares, Reliance Capital Trustee Co. Ltd in account of Reliance Equity Opportunities Fund held 416,675 shares, Copthall Mauritius Investment Limited held 416,675 shares and Tree Line Asia Master Fund (Singapore) Pte Ltd held 890,675 shares, while the remaining 13.37 percent of the shares were held by public and other non-institutional investors.

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Hathway currently offers cable television services across 140 cities and towns and high speed cable broadband services across 21 cities. The company holds a pan-India Internet Service Provider (ISP) license and claim to be India’s largest cable broadband services provider, with approximately 1.4 million two-way broadband enabled homes passes, as on March 31, 2011. In addition to its cable television and broadband service offerings, Hathway also airs advertisements for and on behalf of third party owned channels like Cine Channel and ITV to generate advertising and airtime revenue. According to the company’s latest financial results, Hathway had recorded a loss of Rs 4.92 crore with a net sales revenue of Rs 126.06 crore for the quarter ending 31st December 2011.

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