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Comcast-led Grouping Closing in on ZEE Buy

July 04, 2019 04:54 AM


Comcast-led Grouping Closing in on ZEE Buy
Comcast-Atairos teams up with Blackstone, James Murdoch’s family office; due diligence on
Gaurav Laghate & Arijit Barman


: US cable major Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, and Atairos, a $4-billion investment company led by former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, is looking to team up with PE fund Blackstone and James Murdoch’s family office Lupa Systems to bid for Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE), said people in the know.

The consortium is currently involved in due diligence even as Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, has sent feelers to explore a potential deal. Both sides have engaged in management meetings but the talks are very preliminary in nature and might not translate into a deal, warned the sources mentioned above.

ET was the first to report in its February 19 edition about Comcast and Atairos teaming up for the Subhash Chandra flagship. Subsequently, Lupa and Blackstone joined the grouping.

While Comcast will be leading the consortium, Murdoch is expected to act as the local partner on the ground and take up a small stake. Lupa also cannot have more than 9-10% stake in ZEE, as part of a non-compete agreement with the Walt Disney Company after Rupert Murdoch sold 21st Century Fox (including Star India) to Disney.

“The India team of Lupa are ex-Star… so they have local experience and are aware of the local regulations and market dynamics. They are acting as the catalyst to stitch it all together,” said an official privy to the ongoing discussions.

The key issue will be control, and the exact quantum of stake.

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