HT Media Ltd, publisher of newspapers such as Hindustan Times, Hindustan and Mint, has decided to demerge its Hindi business. HT Media will transfer Hindi daily Hindustan, magazines Nandan and Kadambini, internet portals of these publications as well as all employees, assets and liabilities to Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd for a consideration of Rs149 crore. HT Media owns 99.3% of Hindustan Media Ventures. All relevant IPR and brands can be used by the subsidiary on a long-term lease basis and it will also have the right of first refusal on these properties in case of a sale.
We reported in August that HT Media was considering demerging its Hindi business and has hired consultant Ernst & Young to advise on the transaction.
The company will consider an IPO or a stake sale for Hindustan Media Ventures over the course of the next year, a company official, who asked not to be named, said. This will help unlock value in a part of the company’s asset portfolio that is increasingly looking promising. Newspaper companies with exposure to regional advertising markets posted growth during the last results season, while those with heavy exposure to the metro markets, barely managed to report higher revenues. In the case of HT Media itself, strong earnings from the Hindi business propped up the overall numbers.
The company is unlikely to rush into an IPO or a stake sale, however. Commenting for our story in August, HT Media CEO Rajiv Verma said: