Essel promoters sell shares worth over Rs 1,050 cr in 6 firms
City: 

Essel group’s promoter entities sold shares worth over Rs 1,050 crore in six listed group firms in open market between January 25 and February 1, 2019, for paying off lenders who were not part of an agreement to prevent declaration of default on loans against pledged shares.

According to multiple regulatory filings by different promoter group entities of Essel group, shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Dish TV, Zee Media Corporation, Siti Networks Ltd and Zee Learn were sold in open market.

Sources said the promoters sold the shares in order to pay off lenders who were not part of the pact announced on January 27, under which 97 per cent of the group’s lenders agreed not to classify loans against pledged shares as “default”.

When contacted, Essel Group spokesperson said: “Essel group confirms the mentioned information, which is as per regulatory filings”.

According to a series of regulatory filings, Essel group raised an amount of Rs 874.11 crore through sale of stake in its flagship firm Zee Entertainment Enterprises by its promoter entities Cyquator Media Services Pvt and Essel Corporate LLP selling 1.69 per cent and 0.85 per cent stake, respectively, between January 25 to February 1, 2019.

Other promoter group firms World Crest Advisors LLP (0.86 per cent), Direct Media Distribution Ventures (0.80 per cent) and Veena Investments Pvt (0.35 per cent) sold shares worth Rs 97.34 crore in Dish TV during the period.

In Zee Media Corporation, ARM Infra & Utilities Pvt (2.38 per cent) and 25FPS Media Pvt (3.09 per cent) sold shares worth Rs 45.05 crore.

ARM Infra & Utilities Pvt (1.41 per cent) and 25FPS Media Pvt (3.09 per cent) sold shares worth Rs 2.90 crore in Diligent Media Corporation.

Arrow Media & Broadband Pvt sold 4.50 per cent stake in Siti Networks for Rs 28.88 crore on January 28.

Jayneer Infrapower & Multiventure Pvt sold 0.34 per cent stake in Zee Learn for Rs 2.92 crore in open market.

Transaction value has been calculated based on weighted average price of the stock on the day of sale and the number of shares sold.

On Sunday, the Essel group said it had sealed a formal agreement with its lenders, under which it gets time till September to de-leverage or pare its debt.

The agreement was with those lenders who have taken pledged shares of the group flagship and listed entities, Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Dish TV India.

On January 25, 2019, Essel group companies had come under massive selling pressure, plummeting up to 33 per cent, and suffered a combined erosion of Rs 13,352 crore in market valuation.

On January 26, Essel group chairman Subhash Chandra said his company is in a financial mess and has blamed the same for the aggressive bets on infra, which has gone out of control since the IL&FS crisis and also the acquisition of Videocon’s D2H business.

Apologising to lenders, Chandra also said some negative forces are out to sabotage his efforts to raise money through a strategic sale in the flagship company Zee Entertainment Enterprises.