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DTH News : Sun TV takes a beating
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Coimbatore, Feb. 7: The shares of Sun TV Network Ltd, which has a dominant presence in the four South Indian states, took a beating in the capital markets on Monday, forcing the company to come out with a clarification that it is not associated with Kalaignar TV, owned by the family of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr M. Karunanidhi.

The market frenzy in the counter could be judged from the fact that on the NSE, 1.04 crore shares were traded on Monday, accounting for a staggering value of Rs 430.15 crore.

Among the 10 most actively traded securities on the NSE on Monday, Sun TV ranked second, next only to SBI which had a value of Rs 465.31 crore in turnover with 17.45 lakh shares being traded. Even Reliance, a perennial market favourite, came a distant sixth with a turnover value of Rs 309.06 crore on the NSE.

Initially, the company came out with a statement that Sun TV has not bought over or is associated in any manner whatsoever with any other regional south-based channel(s) or network(s). The company said that “all statements linking us to any such channel(s) or network(s) are baseless and false and without any truth.”

The company noted that “there has been an unusual movement in our stock prices which is apparently based on rumours linking our channels to other unrelated channel(s)/network(s).”

It said it owned and operated only 20 channels in the four South Indian languages and mentioned the language channels concerned — six channels each in Tamil, Kannada and Telugu, and two in Malayalam.

This was put on the BSE Web site at 12.47 p.m. on Monday.

Specific statement

For reasons not clear at this juncture, the company came out with a more specific statement later, posted on the BSE Web site at 2.43 p.m., that the “company and its Chairman Mr Kalanithi Maran categorically deny that they have or had any shareholding or association/transaction with Kalaignar TV.”

Mr Maran is a close relative of Mr Karunanidhi. Apparently this was a suo motu statement as there was no communication from either of the exchanges asking Sun TV network for any clarification about the so-called rumours.

On the BSE, the Sun TV stock slid by Rs 53.10 (by 11.45 per cent) to close at Rs 410.65 (share face value Rs 5).

The previous close was Rs 463.75. The total value of shares traded in the counter was a staggering Rs 123.08 crore and the total quantity of shares traded on the BSE was about 29.97 lakh shares.

On the NSE, the share, after hitting a low of Rs 370.35, recovered slightly to close at Rs 411.75, a decline of 12.81 per cent or a change of Rs 59.45 from the previous close of Rs 464.

There was no hint of the hammering to come when the counter opened at Rs 460 in the day.

Sun Group, apart from 20 TV channels in the South Indian languages, owns 45 FM radio stations, two Tamil daily newspapers — Dinakaran, a morninger, and Tamil Murasu — and four magazines.

Others in the Sun Group are Sun Direct, one of the largest direct to home satellite TV service providers having more than 6.4 million subscribers; Sun Pictures, the film division that produces and releases at least seven movies a year; and SpiceJet airline, according to the Sun TV network Web site.

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