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Zee shares plunge after failed Sony India merger, analysts recommend selling

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Zee Entertainment logo is displayed in this illustration taken, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Zee Entertainment’s shares (NS:) plunged 10% on Tuesday, set for their biggest one-day slide since April 2021, after Sony (NYSE:) India scrapped a $10 billion merger with the Indian broadcaster, raising concerns about its survival in an increasingly competitive industry.

At least five brokerages said investors should sell Zee’s stock and slashed their price targets on the stock, according to LSEG data.

Zee’s stock was last trading at 208.30 rupees, its lowest since mid-July 2023. They had already lost about 8% since the merger was announced in September 2021 and have tumbled 16% so far in 2024 on concerns about the deal.

The collapse of the two-year-long talks on Monday to create one of India’s biggest TV broadcasters creates more uncertainty for cash-strapped Zee, in particular with Disney seeking to merge its Indian businesses with the media assets of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance.

Brokerage Emkay Global said Zee “going it alone” is a low-probability event and believes the company will attract other suitors. However, it cautioned the failed deal could spur shareholder activism against Zee’s management.

While neither Japan’s Sony Group nor Zee elaborated on Monday on the unfulfilled conditions that led to the deal’s collapse, a stalemate over who would lead the combined company had put the merger in danger.

Emkay downgraded Zee’s stock to “sell,” as did four other brokerages, according to LSEG data. The average rating of the 19 analysts covering Zee has dropped to “hold” from “buy,” while their median price target has tumbled 16% to 253 rupees.

CLSA double-downgraded Zee to “sell” from “buy” and slashed its target price by 34%, estimating the stock’s price-to-earnings ratio, a key valuation metric, will from 18x currently to the 12x-levels when the merger was announced.

($1 = 83.1080 Indian rupees)

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