'IPL is about entertainment'

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 19:10 hrs

The acquisition of the Hyderabad franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) would be funded through internal accruals, said VC Unnikrishnan, chief financial officer of Sun TV. Last year, Sun TV's profit after tax was around Rs 700 crore.

The Hyderabad IPL team will be under the listed entity, Sun Television Network.

“We are into the business of media and entertainment. Cricket is possibly the largest entertainment in the country, in terms of sports. The BCCI has issued a tender for 12 cities; two of them were in the south — Kochi and Hyderabad. So we made a bid for the Hyderabad team,” said Unnikrishnan.

In Andhra Pradesh, Sun TV already has a strong presence with its Gemini TV.

“This will possibly add on a little more brand image, but we may not be looking at getting into any Hindi space. Definitely, IPL is a bigger franchise compared to a radio station. But we already have a presence in radio and the Sun Group is known through the radio stations there. This will add much more visibility and focus,” said Unnikrishnan.

He added IPL was a value creation at the end of the day. On the company’s ability to run a cricket team, Unnikrishnan said they had a variety of businesses in which the company had excelled.

“We have ensured that our toplines definitely grow and we also add to the bottomline. Value addition for shareholders has been kept foremost. If you look at our numbers, despite last year being a little bad, our numbers are still strong amongst the other players. We have a very high payout ratio in terms of dividend ratio. This will slowly augment the outcome in the long-run,” he said.

Apart from around 30 television channels, Sun TV has radio stations such as Red FM and Suryan FM. The group has 46 radio stations across the country, of which 18 are in the south. The company has presence in north India through the Red FM brand.

Kalanithi Maran is the owner of the $2.8-billion Sun Group, Forty-eight-year-old Maran is the son of former Union commerce minister Murasoli Maran and elder brother of former Union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran. According to Forbes.com, Kalanithi is currently 24th in the list of richest Indians.

An MBA from the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania), the media tycoon from Chennai has diverse business interest from owning TV channels, Tamil newspapers, DTH business, movie business and also in aviation through SpiceJet airlines.

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