Investment Fund Buys Stake In India’s Zee Entertainment As Consortium Featuring Comcast & James Murdoch’s Lupa Loses Out


An investment fund has beaten out a consortium that included Comcast and James Murdoch’s new venture to buy a stake in Zee Entertainment, India’s largest private broadcaster.

Owners Essel Group sold an 11% stake in the Indian media group, which operates a slew of channels domestically as well as around the world, to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund. The fund has paid around $600M for the stake.

It comes after a consortium including NBC owner Comcast, Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and Blackstone Group had bid to take a 51% stake in the group.

However, the deal with the Invesco fund, which has previously invested in Zee, means Essel Group retains a stake of around 35%. Essel has recently started a process of divesting some of its key assets in order to repay its lenders by September. Essel said that it had received “positive responses from multiple partners expressing interest to buy the stake in Zee”.

Last year, Essel Group, which is owned by Subhash Chandra, hired Goldman Sachs as its investment banker and LionTree as its international strategic adviser to help sell the stake as part of a “strategic review of its businesses in view of the changing global media landscape”.

Zee operates channels in over 173 countries and has a library of more than 260,000 hours of television content and houses the world’s largest Hindi film library with rights to more than 4,800 movie titles across various languages.

Punit Goenka, Managing Director and CEO, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises said, “I’m extremely glad to share that the Fund as a Financial Investor has further reposed its faith in [Zee]. It also gives me immense pleasure to note their strong belief and trust in the intrinsic value of our precious asset. It is the valuable belief and support of our esteemed financial investors that enables us to consistently generate great value, year after year”.

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