Zee Media to demerge print business

The company said that the board of directors of Zee Media and Diligent Media have approved a proposal to independently list its print media business on the stock exchanges


A file photo. The company has also proposed a merger of Maurya TV Pvt.  Ltd, which operates Zee Purvaiya (a regional news and current affairs channel), with Zee Media. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
A file photo. The company has also proposed a merger of Maurya TV Pvt. Ltd, which operates Zee Purvaiya (a regional news and current affairs channel), with Zee Media. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

New Delhi: Zee Media Corp. Ltd (ZMCL), which operates Zee News and Zee Business channels, has announced the demerger of its print media business into Diligent Media Corp. Ltd (DMCL), the publisher of the English newspaper DNA (Daily News & Analysis). The newspaper, headquartered in Mumbai, launched an edition in Delhi earlier this month.

In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange on 27 October, the company said that the board of directors of ZMCL and DMCL has approved a proposal to independently list its print media business on the stock exchanges.

“In order to enable distinct focus to the operation of both the businesses carried out by Zee Media i.e. TV news and print media, it is proposed to segregate the print media business undertaking into DMCL,” the company said in the filing. Zee Media operates a clutch of news and current affairs television channels.

The company also announced the consolidation of its print media entities—Pri-Media Services Pvt. Ltd and Mediavest India Pvt. Ltd with DMCL. Both the entities are in the newspaper printing business.

The company has also proposed a merger of Maurya TV Pvt. Ltd, which operates Zee Purvaiya (a regional news and current affairs channel), with Zee Media.

The proposed restructuring is subject to regulatory approvals and will come into effect from 1 April 2017.

“The proposed merger will enable more focused management and a greater visibility on the performance of individual business,” the company said in its filing, adding that the segregation of the businesses will help the company attract different set of investors.

According to the current policy, the government has limited the foreign direct investment in news and current affairs television channels to 49%, while 26% FDI is allowed in print—both subject to government approval.

Earlier this year, Zee Media Corp. entered the television shopping business by acquiring a stake in two India Today Group companies—Today Merchandise Pvt. Ltd (TMPL) and Today Retail Network Pvt. Ltd (TRNL) in February 2016.

For the year ended March 2016, Zee Media’s print business recorded a turnover of Rs 108.36, which accounted for 19.96% of the company’s consolidated earnings. The company is expecting to improve its earnings by around Rs 25 crore after the demerger.

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