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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

MK Vs SUN TV – Who will have the last laugh?

DMK Supremo MK announced yesterday that his wife has sold her 20% share in Kalanidhi Maran’s Sun Network. Industry estimates put the worth of Sun Network at about Rs. 1000 Crores. If one goes by this estimate, the stake sale could be worth Rs. 200 Crores. SUN Network has a presence spanning all forms of media (Cable TV, Cable TV distribution, Print & FM Radio).

Out of the proceeds from the stake sale, MK’s wife seems to have passed on a portion to MK. The DMK chief has used this money to create a charitable trust with a corpus of Rs. 5 Crores.

There is lot of speculation about the reason behind the stake sale. With TN elections round the corner, this announcement should be a cause for cheer for the ruling camp. The Tamil Cable TV channels wield enormous influence over the TN electorate. Sun TV is leagues ahead of other channels in terms of TRP ratings and hence DMK can’t ignore Sun TV’s role in its earlier victories (Central and State elections).

MK is projecting Stalin as his successor and this might have not gone down well with some of the partymen / family members (??). Sun TV is known to black out a few people (MDMK’s Vaiko is one person whom I can recount) and they seem to have extended the blackout to MK Stalin as well. They have been using this time slot to promote the Union IT and Telecom Minister.

DMK does need a powerful media vehicle to face the TN electorate next year. In all likelihood, Sun TV will continue to promote DMK and its allies, but one is not sure whether DMK leadership can twist Sun TV’s arms to promote individual personalities. Sun TV also needs political backing as they need some amount of lobbying to conduct their activities. Although the relationship is strained, Sun TV will prefer to rally behind DMK as it has lots to gain if DMK wins the next elections. MK has stressed the word ‘amicable settlement’ in his press release so that it gives an indication to the public that all is well within the family.

Some media reactions


Karunanidhi did not reveal the total amount Ammal received for her 20% shares.The development also comes amidst speculation over the company going in for an IPO. A member of the Maran family said this ``arrangement’’ was on the cards for many months but refused to elaborate.

While sources in the family tell DNA that Karunanidhi has served an ultimatum on Sun Network MD and grand nephew Kalanidhi Maran to vacate the DMK headquarters premises (from where the channel is uplinking) within six months, there was at least one such innuendo in Karunanidhi’s two-page press release. “… (buildings at) 367-369 Anna Salai (which is also the address of the Sun TV office) have been under the management of the DMK Trust. I, M Karunanidhi am the founder of the Trust and have been functioning as the chairman of the Trust.”

But Maran family sources said Sun is unlikely to move out of its current office. Karunanidhi, who shared an emotional bonding with his nephew and former Union minister Murasoli Maran, is understandably not happy withMaran’s son Kalanidhi. Even as the 40-year-old US-educated Kalanidhi tried to expand his 13-channel media empire in a professional manner, Sun often had to dance to the DMK’s political tunes, risking its credibility and long-term gains.

“Both Karunanidhi and Kalanidhi have realised politics and media business cannot co-exist beyond a point,” says an insider. Once the division is complete, all eyes will be on Kalanidhi’s younger brother and Union IT minister Dayanidhi Maran, who was brought into politics and propelled to the cabinet berth by Karunanidhi.

New Indian Express

The move by Karunanidhi's family to divest from the Rs 600-crore Sun TV Group comes in the wake of speculation that the 82-year-old DMK patriarch is quite piqued with the channel's managers for virtually blacking out his son, MK Stalin, the DMK's deputy general secretary, who is being groomed to take over the DMK reins.While partymen hailed Kalaignar, as Karunanidhi is referred to in political circles, for his "extraordinary gesture'' in donating his money for a public cause, the move brought into open his displeasure with the Sun TV proprietor.In fact, Karunanidhi has made no secret about his differences with the channel's news coverage. There has been much heartburn within the party that the Sun TV Group headed by Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Dayandhi Maran, and son of Karunanidhi's favourite nephew, the late Murasoli Maran, was giving "poor coverage'' to the party and its heir apparent, Stalin.Recently the group bought over Tamil daily Dinakaran and even launched an eveninger Tamil Murasu. DMK followers have been complaining that Dinakaran, which in the past devoted much space for the party's views and ideologies, hardly gave space for it now.

Business Line

A few years ago, Sun Network had planned to come out with an IPO (to raise about Rs 1,200 crore, it was said at that time), but the company's Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Kalanithi Maran told Business Line in May that he had given up the idea. "Our internal reserves are good enough to take care of our future plans," he had said.

Television Point

According to party sources, M Karunanidhi has decided to distance himself from the channel as he is unhappy with the channel turning cold towards his son M.K. Stalin, his heir-apparent. The DMK chief had openly expressed his displeasure at the channel's coverage of party affairs and once even asked a Sun cameraman to leave his press conference. Some DMK men said M Karunanidhi was also unhappy over the Sun group buying the Tamil daily Dinakaran. They complained that the good rapport they had enjoyed with the pro-DMK paper had vanished after the Marans took charge of it. Party sources also said that M Karunanidhi did not quite relish Sun TV telecasting one serial after another promoting superstition and "negating the rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement." When someone questioned how the DMK could accommodate Sun TV in the same premises as the party headquarters even though the channel was propagating superstition, M Karunanidhi went on the defensive, saying that Sun TV was a mere tenant at Anna Arivalayam, party headquarters.


  • Couple of years back, when I was in a Financial services company in Chennai, I remember seeing their profile floating around in the market for private placements.

    The target at that time was not in so many crores.. it was less than 10 crores. Since the premium which they were expecting at that time was very high (PE ratio) compared to the market, it didn't go thru. Probably, they would have decided not to give up the private holdings on a big empire.

    Now the organisation has earned so much reserves, that it may not go for IPO unless they target overseas acquistion at an International level.

    Whatever it is, it was a good move to delink the political relationship what they were having with DMK party. It would do good for them as a professional organstn in future.. [but still the coverage of Dayanithi Maran is going to continue... :-)]

    By Blogger Ram.C, at 3:18 PM  

  • Excellent post, Kaps.

    By Blogger Thayirsaadham, at 11:15 PM  

  • Symbiosis works.

    Mutual parasites either need to break off, or one or both will kill each other.

    The DMK used Sun TV to unabashedly promote itself (and bash JJ) with no regard to a level playing field.

    Sun TV used political clout to exand like crazy.

    As I said, mutual parasites need to break off ...

    By Anonymous ?!, at 2:23 AM  

  • got a great idea of wats goin on..
    thanx kaps

    By Blogger rajesh, at 3:08 AM  

  • ah man....u are making me feel at home :-) ..am really miisin the chennai politics :-)

    By Blogger Jagan, at 6:12 AM  

  • E.one's best bet will be the Union IT minister hoppin down for the CM post. but logically that doesnt work good. DMK needs some one to be there in the centre and the IT minister holds a strong say at the top.

    The conclusion: TN's future is bleak just like DMK's if DMK comes to power again. (Even if amma comes up again, i dont think her continuous second term would be any better). Congress, PMK, anyone? Or our own Captain??

    By Blogger Chez, at 8:19 AM  

  • Well, I personally dont think DMK has the chance of coming back to power in 2006. First of all how could MK accomodate the rainbow coalation party with the seat sharing? On top of this there are also plans for them(esp Ramadoss) to bring Thirumalvalavan into the coalation.

    Amma is playing it carefully these days. Remember her last term this time she did that marriage for her ex-foster son. That was a mistake then. Cant expect such kind of grave mistakes done by amma during this term. Also cant see Chinna amma much in public these days.

    Captain so far hasnt made any impact other than launching his party. Moreover if captain go it all alone in the elections it is only going to benefit ADMK. Thats just my opinion.

    By Anonymous !!!!, at 9:39 AM  

  • Sun TV will continue to play DMK line for some time to come...

    The sad part is there NO reliable Tamil news Channel.. and Sun TV has such an advantage over everyone else right now.. DMK cannot afford to 'lose' them ..

    (Oh yes.. there is Doordarshan - Podhigai.. but who is watching it ??)

    By Blogger Ram Viswanathan, at 2:22 PM  

  • The best thing in Sun TV is watching the News...Its a pleasure seeing those homely newscasters bashing Amma and lobbying for the 'people' with a remorse tone.

    At times, u can see violin pieces crying louder than words, as an add on bonus thus creating a better impact. I m all for DMK and Sun getting back and I need my share of entertainment.

    As some1 pointed out, its true thr s no channel thats unbiased...

    By Blogger Chennai chatter, at 12:44 AM  

  • @Ram,
    They have been eyeing an IPO for quite some time.

    @Thayirsaadham, Jagan & Rajesh,

    IMO all TV channels are biased as they are extension of the respective political parties

    @Magnus Astrum,
    Industrial growth will happen in TN irrespective of who is in power

    DMK coalition is strong and the anti-incumbency factor might work for them....hence I won't rule out a DMK coalition victory

    @Ram Viswanathan,
    I agree with u. there is no neutral channel today.

    @Chennai Chatter,
    for people in S'pore we don't have any choice other than watching Sun TV. They better be good.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 10:13 AM  

  • DMAK TRUST Cheated of over 1500 crore by Maran

    The DMK Trust which was part beneficiary of the Karunanidhi's family selling their 20% stake in Sun Network to Kalanithi Maran at Rs. 38 crore has been cheated to the tune of Rs. 1500 crore.

    The Sun TV IPO plans to raise around Rs. 800 crore, by divesting 10% equity, in the next 2 months. Its hardly 2 months back in November when he bought 20% stake at only Rs. 38 crore from Dayalu Ammal, wife of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi.

    So by current standards, Dayalu Ammal Should have received Rs. 1600 crore for her 20% stake, if she was not shortchanged by the cunning and slimy dayanidhi and kalanidhi maran.

    Will Dayanidhi stay as the Minister after cheating his grand uncle as well as the DMK Trust of Rs. 1500 crore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:58 AM  

  • When we criticise Sun TV, we also should criticise Jaya TV too. But if we think deeply, we can understand, DMK and its associates are the root causes for all which are evil, whether it is corruption or misusing media. When popular TV like Sun TV becomes notorious for its fals propaganda, other TVs should be forced to follow the same trend. That is exactly happening in TamilNadu.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:09 PM  

  • Take it from me friends.........

    Sun TV Network could easily be the richest venture in entire India........

    They are good in politics and So we might not be knowing the total estimate of their family property ever.................

    As long as we are there to be fooled......... they'll keep fooling us............

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