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MUMBAI : Lenders to the Essel group sold pledged promoters’ shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) for over 200 crore on Monday. According to exchange data, a bulk sale of 7.25 million ZEEL shares was executed on the NSE in a transaction executed by Catalyst Trusteeship Ltd.

The number and identity of the sellers and buyers were not immediately known.

A ZEEL spokesperson confirmed the development: “The Essel group confirms that the lenders who had not agreed to grant the extension have exited by selling the pledged shares of ZEEL. The other lenders, who value the assets, have in-principally agreed to grant more time to the group."

CNBC-TV18, citing unnamed people, reported that the shares were sold by Kotak Mutual Fund.

Mint’s queries on the share sale to Kotak MF and ZEEL remained unanswered.

NSE bulk data shows 7.25 million ZEEL shares were sold on Monday at 281.75 apiece. The transaction was valued at 204.26 crore. The selling price was 9% below the stock’s opening price of 310. ZEEL shares closed at 277.05 on the NSE on Monday, falling 8.08% to a multi-year low.

As of 30 June, the ZEEL promoters held a 35.79% stake in the company. Of this, nearly one-third, or over 210 million shares, were pledged.

In July, ZEEL promoters agreed to sell an 11% stake to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund, to effectively bringing down the holdings to under 25%. With certain lenders invoking their pledges on Monday, the promoters have lost control of another 7.25 million shares.

As of December 2018, the promoters of the Essel group owed about 13,000 crore to the lenders, while the businesses had borrowed another 16,237 crore.

About 7,500 crore of the promoter’s debt, owed to a handful of mutual funds and some NBFCs, was supposed to be due for repayment on 30 September.

Mint reported on 19 September that the Essel group had managed to extend the moratorium on this payment a second time to March 2020.

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