The Ireland-based Independent News & Media (INM), which had planned in April to sell its investment in Jagaran Prakashan, publisher of the Dainik Jagran, and other assets to repay its £1.3-billion debt, (See: Independent News & Media to sell stake in Dainik Jagran) has sold part of its stake in two lots on Wednesday and Thursday.
INM had acquired a 26-per cent stake valued at Rs150 crore (approximately £22.5 million) in Jagaran Prakashan in July 2005 at Rs467 per share. Following an Rs400-crore IPO issue in January 2006, INM's stake in Jagaran Prakashan came down to 20.8 per cent. (See: Jagaran Prakashan to issue Rs.400-cr IPO)
In a statement, the Independent newspaper said that it has sold 7.3 per cent of its 20.8 per cent stake in Jagaran Prakashan in two lots at the Mumbai and the National Stock Exchanges, but retained 13.5 per cent stake in India's largest-selling newspaper.
In April INM had informed the Gupta family, founders and holding 59.25 per cent stock of Dainik Jagran its intention to sell its stake in Jagaran Prakashan.
Although Jagaran Prakashan had the first right to acquire the shares as under the shareholders agreement, the company decided not to come at a private arrangement and is reported to be buying 5 per cent of the stock from the market.
CFO of Jagaran Prakashan, R K Agarwal told media that his company's relationship with INM would not change because of the share sale and INM would continue to have its two board members in Jagaran Prakashan since he feels that INM's contribution is too valuable.