ibnlive » India

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:50pm IST

Family feud affects funds at The Hindu

Chennai: The family that runs The Hindu, is slugging it out in court on the question of management. In the course of the legal battle the counsel for Nirmala Lakshmanan, Joint Editor of The Hindu said in a hearing at the Madras High Court that N Ram wanted to exit by selling his shares at a premium for which he was looking for an investor.

N Ram responded to the claims saying that they were just frivolous hearsay and that the references were not about him.

"As for your hearsay that somebody said I am 'planning to exit from the company with a higher premium,' I don't believe there was any personal reference to me. I don't think I have to respond to frivolously baseless hearsay" Ram said.

While the legal battle is on, Kasturi and Sons that runs The Hindu could be scripting ways to fund their growth plans.

CNBC-TV 18 learns that consultants MC Kinsey & Company submitted a report to Kasturi and Sons on diversification and strategy improvement.

The report suggested ways to improve circulation of The Hindu and the other publications run by Kasturi and Sons to Rs 23 lakhs from the current Rs 16 lakhs by 2016.

The report also had propsals to take revenues to Rs 2500 crore by 2016 from the current Rs 935 crores.

This would entail a capex of Rs 570 crore rupees and an additional investment of Rs 665 crore.

Taking a cue from the report, we learn a senior offical in Kasturi and Sons propsed to the board that the group look at fund raising by either roping in a pe player or strategic investor or going the IPO way.

A senior official of The Hindu has said, "McKinsey suggested new business strategy and diversification. For that they estimated we would need addional outside funding from either strategic partner or PE lending to IPO. No specific proposals have been made as yet."

In 2007 itself, Kasturi and Sons was in talks with Fairfax Media, an Australian company to sell a minority stake. But now it looks like any fund raising will depend on the outcome of the legal battle being fought by the family over management issues.

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