EXCLUSIVE: Sun TV eyeing stake in The Hindu

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: Is The Hindu‘s uneasy relationship with the government of the day in Tamil Nadu rearing its head once again?

First, Jayalalithaa‘s decision to clamp down on the paper created a national furore. Now, comes hot speculation that a section of the ruling Karunanidhi family may be trying to pick up a stake in the Mount Road Mahavishnu.

The Sun conglomerate, which started out with a single Tamil channel has steadily branched out into various other media ventures over the past decade. It picked up Kungumam, a weekly magazine, and then bought and turned around Dinakaran, a Tamil daily.

Two years ago, before the Hyderabad-based Deccan Chronicle set foot on Tamil soil, there were rumours, substantiated by Kalanidhi Maran himself, that the group was planning an English newspaper, to occupy the No. 2 slot, between The Hindu and The New Indian Express.

But the success of Sun’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), which has spurred its promoters into the league of the superrich, and the reported success of Chronicle in building up a 200,000 circulation in less than two years, has reportedly spurred a change of plans.

Media circles are abuzz that influential representatives of the Maran family have already sent feelers to Editor-in-Chief N. Ram for a stake-sale in The Hindu. (For the record, Sun is flush with money. Its scrip issued at Rs 875 through the book-building process is now hovering around the Rs 1,700 mark.)

Well placed sources say Sun’s initial overtures have been grandly rebuffed by the family owned newspaper. But given the manner in which the group muscled its way into the cable TV market with Sumangali, and the impunity with which it used Dayanidhi Maran‘s position as Union Information Technology minister to obstruct the Tata DTH project (because the Tatas refused to give a stake to Sun), observers say the last word on the subject has not been said.

It is difficult to see The Hindu doing business with the Sun group. There will be the caste factor at play. For all its progressive pap, The Hindu is still an I-Iyer-Iyengar fiefdom. More importantly, if The Hindu needs funds for growth and expansion, it has the reputation to go for an IPO itself or to sell a stake to a more solid and credible partner, maybe even a foreign player, than Sun.

Already, there are murmurs over the delay in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the formation of The Hindu union. Those who put one and one together and end up with eleven, believe the two events—the stake bid and the delay—may not be unconnected.

The Hindu union has traditionally owed its allegiance with the ruling DMK, and the grapevine is that Karunanidhi wants a full fledged DMK man at the helm of the union before the goodies are distributed to the employees.

Also see: Under N. Ram, Hindu becomes a ‘sorry’ paper

The Hindu responds to Churumuri, we do too

Cross-posted on sans serif

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18 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: Sun TV eyeing stake in The Hindu”

  1. anonymous Says:

    Weren’t they already in the family? in that sense, even if they get a stake now it will still be in the family.
    And it was heartening to hear that DC picked up a 200000 subscription in chennai – not that I love DC, but I hate Hindu :-)

  2. Ramesh Says:

    N.Ram will say NO. But, not Straightaway.
    Anything about Nandi mark company and BCCL ?

  3. Andy Says:

    What is the story here ? You say Sun wanted a stake in Hindu..and Ram rebuffed it..well, thats the end of the matter ! why simply speculate and write lengthy piece on a non issue..

  4. ravi Says:

    Now PR Manager People’s editor, will make use of all skills learnt in his school and write a rebuttal drowned in sarcasm. :D

  5. ravi Says:

    Now PR Manager People’s editor, will make use of all skills learnt in his school and write a rebuttal drowned in sarcasm. :D

  6. karnataka lover Says:

    A correction:

    The Hindu is an Iyengar newspaper owned and edited by tamil iyengars.

  7. tarlesubba Says:

    andy you are looking for PTI.
    uppu khaara beku annorge churumuri.

    Marange maaridre enoo change agolla Hindu li. Somebody who can retain southern conservatism but kick out Eelam Psy-Ops is needed. Some outsider, preferably ‘diga, gult or ‘alee (not necessarily in any order of preference) ought to take over.

    beTTadaache danDetti hogthaara Mallya, Kheny?

  8. Uttama Says:

    Maran will get it. Stupid Prime Minister Sigh and his master Sonia wanted DMK alliance at the centre. Give an inch to Karunanidhi, he will swallow a yard. Karunannidhi is a very rich man ( no income tax official dare touch him), Maran is his creature and both will succeed in taking The Hindu to their fold. If N.Ram has any sense , he should close its base in Chennai and move it near to Bangalore and then it will be for Karunannidhi and Maran to make the next move.

  9. Shastry Iyengar Says:

    Hi Gurumurty,
    Is it evident that you always want to have the last word. Now that The New Indian Expres is gone to dogs after your story “Dayanidhi Threatens the Tata’s ” and for your information the TATA’S are begging The maran’s to have their channels in TATA SKY and have gone to the courts !!, Now you once again want to be on the limelight, The Hindu is the number one in the south and is flushed with funds, and if they want to sell they will first do an IPO and increse their value and no way will the sell to anyone.It is very clear that N.Ram is not close to you anymore, So Gurumurthy why dont you go do some thing more usefull likeflying a kite.

  10. கில்லி - Gilli » Sun TV eyeing stake in The Hindu Says:

    [...] வாசிக்க…. [...]

  11. What if SUN Network takes over Hindu ? « Renaissance Says:

    [...] There is this exclusive speculation that going rounds that says Sun network is eyeing for a stake  at Hindu. Exclusive news from Churumuri [...]

  12. Ramesh Says:

    I agree with Shastry Iyengar why is TATA sky begging sun to join their DTH, why have they gone to the courts to make sun join them, if dayanidhi had threaten TATA’s why is Tata Sky forcing and wanting join with sun now. This clearly proves that there was no iota of truth in the story dayanidhi threatening TATA’s may be it was gurumurty trying to make a quick buck by way of black mailing dayanidhi. Express should be freed from the clutches of gurumurty who is using the paper to black mail people. Hindu has enough and more money and this is another con story.

  13. Truth Speaker Says:

    Ramesh and Sastry Iyenger seem to be Sun TV employees. I have seen the same spam comments in other blogs as well. Grow up guys.

  14. deva Says:

    I dont see the point Mr.TRUTH

  15. Truth Speaker Says:

    Deva, Ramesh and Shastry Iyengar,
    Don’t leave spam comments in all blogs. The blog owners can track your comments from the IP address and your cover will be blown as they can find out that you are from Sun TV’s IP address.

  16. Ramesh Says:

    Mr.truth speaker , Just because I don’t agree with what is said Do I become spam. I am not a sun tv employee, you are free to check my IP. I had only expressed my opinion like the Author did, if the author does not like other people’s opinion then he should not put it up on the net. I stand by what I said before and I think that is the truth

  17. Senthil Kumar Says:

    I agree the Karuninidhi family is an Octopus. They are now the owner of the Aircel network. Who is going to bell the cat. God only knows.

  18. Het Up about Movie Says:

    What If God Were the Sun? (TV)

    What If God Were the Sun? (TV)

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