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Report: India's Zee in advanced stake-sale talks with Sony

India's Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.'s stake-sale talks with Japan's Sony Corp. has reached the valuation stage, with Zee looking to sell up to 25% stake to raise adequate funds and repay debt worth 130 billion Indian rupees, Mint reported, citing three people aware of the matter.

Zee Chairman Subhash Chandra is reportedly eyeing a 30% premium, while wanting to retain at least a 20% stake in the company.

Zee parent Essel Group owns a 41.62% stake in the company, over half of which is pledged to lenders. In November 2018, Zee said it was looking to divest up to 50% of Essel Group's holding in the company after a strategic review.

A potential deal between Zee and Sony will allow them to forge a strategic partnership, with Sony's business also receiving a significant push, the report said. Zee operates nearly 66 TV channels in 171 countries while Sony's Indian subsidiary has 29 channels in its portfolio.

Earlier, U.S. cable giant Comcast Corp. and investment firm Atairos Management L.P. were said to be shortlisted for negotiations for purchasing a "substantial" stake in Zee.

As of March 13, US$1 was equivalent to 69.53 Indian rupees.