Exclusive: Balaji Telefilms Mulls Selling Up To 26% Stake In ALT Balaji
Balaji Telefilms Ltd. is considering selling stake in its subsidiary ALT Balaji Digital Media Entertainment Ltd., people familiar with the matter said.
The Mumbai-based media house is in talks with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., and an international studio for selling up to 26 percent in the subsidiary, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
It will consider fund raising options in Thursday’s board meeting, a company official said on condition of anonymity. The stake sale in ALT Balaji could be used to fund its capital expenditure requirements, the official added.
In an exchange notification following BloombergQuint’s report, Balaji Telefilms clarified it is in talks with several financial and strategic investors who have expressed “strong interest to partner with ALT Balaji”. The board is actively considering all options available, the notification said.
Earlier in the day, Kartik Sankaran, the senior vice president in charge of investor relations had said, “ALT Balaji is the growth driver for Balaji Telefilms, and the response so far has been good and we have now crossed four million downloads globally.”
“We do not comment on market speculation,” a spokesperson for Reliance Industries Ltd., which owns Reliance Jio, told BloombergQuint. “There is no proposal to acquire a stake in ALT Balaji,” Zee Entertainment said in an exchange filing. The company however added that it regularly explores various opportunities for expansion.
Zee Entertainment, Reliance Jio: Strategic Fit?
Both Reliance Jio and Zee Entertainment could look at ALT Balaji for its premium and original content.
Reliance Jio’s live streaming app Jio TV provides instant access to television content. Zee Entertainment's digital businesses Ditto TV and OZEE, which operate under Zee Digital Convergence, do not create original content at this stage. Ditto TV is the company’s streaming service while OZEE pools content from Zee channels in one platform.
Besides, Zee Entertainment has a debt free balance sheet along with strong net cash positions of approximately Rs 2,500 crore. The company has been growing at a compounded average growth rate of 16.2 percent since past five years .
Balaji Telefilms has so far invested close to Rs 40 crore in ALT Balaji, the over-the-top subscription video on demand platform. The management has outlined plans to deploy Rs 150 crore each over the next three years to ramp up operations.
ALT Balaji was launched in mid-April and has 250 plus hours of programming.