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BENGALURU/MUMBAI : Top investors, including one managing late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s family office and a few larger foreign funds, are betting on Dish TV India Ltd after chairman Jawahar Goel stepped down from the board of the country’s third largest satellite TV provider in September.

Family members of Amal Parikh, founder of Mumbai-based Ohm Stock Broker, and one of the three trustees of Rare Enterprises, have picked a 0.65% stake in Dish TV as of 30 September, according to a private list of the 100 largest shareholders of the company, reviewed by Mint.

Another investor, Mukul Mahavir Agrawal, owned a 1.36% stake at the end of the latest quarter. Alchemy Cap, a portfolio management service that counts Jhunjhunwala as a founder, has built a 0.54% stake. Among foreign investors, Dimensional Fund Advisors, a California-based money manager, now has a 0.42% stake.

An email sent to Parikh, Alchemy Capital and Dimension Fund seeking comment went unanswered. Agrawal could not be reached for comment.

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“Retail investors are offloading shares, and some valued investors and institutions and foreign investors are buying them," said an investor in Dish TV.

Retail holding in Dish TV slipped from 9.99% at the end of 30 June to 9.95% at the end of 30 September, while institutional ownership, including foreign funds and domestic mutual funds, increased from 37.26% to 43.32%. Outside of the 4.04% stake held by Goel, the younger brother of Zee group patriarch Subhash Chandra, the remaining shares are held by creditors and non-banking finance companies.

“Institutional new shareholders have been asking for a change of board and management at Dish. Given that there is a change in leadership, the expectation is that it will lead to a change in performance, and the management will fortify the balance sheet," said Amit Tandon, founder of proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services India Ltd. “We have seen this happen in Eveready and CG power."

Dish TV’s board has three independent directors—Rajeev Dalmia, Rashmi Aggarwal and Shankar Aggarwal—which is less than the minimum six prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Dish TV’s inability to have a full board is on account of its investors, led by Yes Bank, which owns 24.78%, who have booted out the current board members seeking reappointment and rejected the candidature of a new director’s reappointment in the last 10 months. Yes Bank’s activist approach is because the creditor, citing corporate malfeasance, has been demanding an overhaul of the board and has recommended the induction of seven members. Dish TV denies any impropriety.

For now, Dish TV has agreed to consider the induction of three independent directors—Girish Paranjpe, Arvindnachya Chandranachya and Madan Mohanlal Verma.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Varun Sood

Varun Sood is a business journalist writing on corporate affairs for the last fifteen years. He also writes a weekly newsletter, TWICH+ on the largest technology services companies. He is based in Bangalore. Varun's first book, Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions, was brought out by HarperCollins in October 2020.
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