Sahara confirms MGM interest

TV and film conglomerate second Indian entity to bid

NEW DELHI -- Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar, whose businesses include finance, real estate and media ventures, has confirmed its bid for MGM Studios.

"On mutual interest, discussions are on, but it is too early to comment on the issue,” Sahara India Pariwar head of corporate communications Abhijit Sarkar was quoted as saying.

Further details from Sahara were not available but local media reports speculated that Sahara has offered between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in cash. MGM has an extension on repaying its $4 billion debt until 29 October.

Sahara is the second Indian conglomerate that is reportedly showing an interest in MGM following earlier reports that DreamWorks partner Reliance ADAG was among the beleaguered studio's bidders.

Established in the late 1970s in the central Indian city of Lucknow as a finance company by chairman Subroto Roy, over the years SIP expanded into infrastructure, housing and real estate. Its media and entertainment division Sahara One Entertainment runs a bouquet of channels and a film production banner. Sahara's film unit recently released titles such as “Milenge Milenge," “Mumbai Cutting” and “De Taali."

The group's broadcasting ventures include flagship Hindi channel Sahara One, movie outlet Filmy and a Hindi-dubbed international channel Firangi, in addition to a bouquet of news channels under the Sahara India brand.

Meanwhile, following wide coverage here Monday on Sahara's reported MGM bid, the group's stock rose over 5.49%in early trading.
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