The Essel Group will divest upto 50% of its 41.6% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) to a strategic partner to address its “capital allocation priorities.” In light of the group chairman Subhash Chandra and his family reviewing technology advancements like AI, IoT, AR, VR and the convergence of telecom and media, it has decided to divest from ZEEL.

“It was observed that these developments will impact virtually all businesses across
sectors and business practices will be driven by technological innovation,” the group’s statement said. The Essel Group will continue to be an investor in ZEEL and that “India remains a priority market for Subhash Chandra.”

ZEEL CEO and MD Punit Goenka, who is also Chandra’s son, reportedly told the Times of India that sale process was triggered after a “global media giant” made an offer to buy into ZEEL. According to the publication, the ZEEL had attempted to find a strategic partner for ZEE5, “but the potential investors sought covenants with the parent.”

The group has roped in investment banking firm Goldman Sachs and investment firm LionTree as advisors to identify a buyer for the ZEEL stake by March-April 2019.

Shareholding pattern of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra launched Zee TV in 1992. It was the first private TV channel in the country. ZEEL runs several TV channels including Zee TV, Zee Cinema. It launched an OTT service ZEE5 recently.

Financials

In the quarter ended September 30, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd reported consolidated revenues of Rs 2034.7 crore, an increase of 14% year-on-year from Rs 1785 crore in the same quarter last year. Advertising revenue made up 59% of the total revenue in the quarter, standing at Rs 1210.6 crore.

ZEE5 has 41 million monthly active users as of September 30, average time spent on the platform is 31 minutes. In terms of users, Zee5 has seen a 190% growth in users since April 2018.