Sun TV shares down after Maran quits union cabinet

Mumbai: The shares of Sun TV Network, one of south India’s largest media and entertainment companies, took a beating of as much as five percent intra-day Thursday, after reports that Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran had quit the union cabinet.

The group has been promoted by the Maran family and Dayanidhi’s brother Kalanithi is the chairman of the enterprise, which has interests in running channels, programming, films, newspaper and also recently airlines, after acquiring budget carrier SpiceJet.

Maran was India’s communications minister between May 26, 2004, and May 13, 2007.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had the Supreme Court Wednesday that as communications minister, Dayanidhi Maran had allegedly created a situation forcing non-resident entrepreneur C. Sivasankaran to sell his stake in telecom company Aircel to Malaysia’s Maxis group.

Maxis, which is considered close to the Marans, allegedly bought 74 percent stake in Aircel after which it was allotted more circles to operate its telecom services in the country. Maxis also allegedly invested around Rs.600 crore in Sun’s DTH project.

The shares of Sun TV opened Thursday at Rs.330 and dipped to the day’s low of Rs.305.95, following news reports that Maran had handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

It later recovered to close at Rs.324.30, down 2.63 percent from its previous close.

The shares of SpiceJet, which was acquired by Kalanithi Maran in 2010, plummeted over 6 percent in intra-day trade to a low of Rs.30.10. The scrip, however, managed to pare its losses to close a modest 0.47 percent up at Rs.32.10.

Last month, notably June 2, there was a steep fall in Sun TV’s share prices that was triggered by allegations and rumours linking it with certain happenings related to the allocation of second generation (2G) telecom spectrum to new players.

“We wish to inform that Sun TV Network Limited and Mr. Kalanithi Maran do not have any relationship whatsoever to any of these happenings,” the company had said. “We wish to clarify Mr. Dayanidhi Maran does not own any shares either in Sun TV Network Limited or in Sun Direct TV Private Limited.”

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