NCLT approves Srei Group’s takeover plan for Deccan Chronicle
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The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved a plan by an investment arm of Kolkata-based Srei Group to acquire debt-laden media house Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd.

The NCLT’s Hyderabad bench cleared Srei Multiple Asset Investment Trust Vision India Fund’s offer for Deccan Chronicle on Monday.

The offer involves a payment of Rs 408.06 crore in cash and certain high-value assets as well as a share in the Indian Premier League team Deccan Chargers. This will distributed among 37 financial creditors, the tribunal said in its order.

The order, which VCCircle has reviewed, didn’t specify the value of the high-value assets and the IPL team. But it said that, of the cash component, Rs 350 crore will be provided to category-A financial creditors in three tranches. Category-B lenders are permitted to sell Deccan Chronicle’s non-core assets. The operational creditors will get Rs 6 crore.

Deccan Chronicle owed Rs 8,180.65 crore to its financial creditors and Rs 154.36 crore to its operational creditors. This means the creditors are taking a haircut of more than 95%.

Hyderabad-based Deccan Chronicle published an eponymous English newspaper, the Financial Chronicle business newspaper and Telugu newspaper Andhra Bhoomi, among others.

The company was dragged to the NCLT in 2017 by state-run Canara Bank after it defaulted on its loan. The NCLT admitted Deccan Chronicle for an insolvency resolution process in July 2017. The media house owed about Rs 827 crore to Canara Bank.

Srei had submitted its final resolution plan on December 11, 2018. The plan was approved by the media house’s Committee of Creditors with a vote share of 81.38%.

Apart from Srei, two other companies were interested in buying Deccan Chronicle—Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd, better known as Times Group, and Arm Infra and Utilities Pvt. Ltd. But they failed to make it to the final round of bidding.

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