Grapevine: Buyout funds circle Wockhardt; Comcast consortium eyes Zee Entertainment
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Buyout funds Apax Partners, Blackstone, Carlyle and KKR are in talks with Wockhardt Ltd, one of India’s oldest drug makers, to acquire a substantial stake in its domestic formulations business, people aware of the discussions told The Economic Times.

The suitors have indicated their interest to buy a 51% stake at a valuation of up to Rs 4,500 crore (about $653 million at current exchange rate), while the Habil Khorakiwala-owned company is looking to sell 40% stake, the report said.

Torrent Pharma is also said to have shown interest. Wockhardt is looking to pare debt standing at Rs 2,453 crore, of which Rs 823 crore has to be repaid in the current financial year.

Meanwhile, US cable major Comcast is teaming up with private equity fund Blackstone and James Murdoch’s family office Lupa Systems to bid for Zee Entertainment Enterprises, people in the know told The Economic Times.

Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, has also sent feelers to explore a potential deal. The talks are very preliminary in nature, the people said.

In February, the promoters of Zee Entertainment Enterprises had shortlisted Japan’s Sony Corp, Comcast and Comcast-backed investment firm Atairos for stake sale talks.

At current prices, half the promoters’ stake would fetch Rs 6,603 crore. The bidders are keen to take control.

Subhash Chandra, whose Essel Group is facing a severe debt crisis, had announced his plans to sell half of the promoters’ stake in the company last year.

Leave Your Comment(s)