SpiceJet shareholders find Maran's offer too low: report

The proposal of Kalanithi Maran, promoter of Chennai-based Sun TV, offering Rs700 crore for a 51 per cent stake in SpiceJet is finding few takers among the airline's shareholders, according to a report in The Economic Times.

The paper today cited an unnamed banker involved with the deal that Maran is believed to have made an offer of Rs700 crore, or Rs55 per share for acquiring the stake. This offer is not acceptable to the SpiceJet shareholders, as it is at a discount to the ruling market price of the stock, the paper quoted the banker as saying.

"There are differences on the valuation. If that is over, a deal may be announced in a fortnight," the paper quoted the banker as saying.

"As a policy, we do not comment on market rumours and speculation," SpiceJet chief operating officer Samyukta Sridharan was quoted as saying.

The deal, if it goes through, will be a combination of share sale by existing shareholders and issue of new shares to Maran, who has been looking for an opportunity to enter the aviation industry. He has earlier held discussions to buy Star Aviation, an yet-to-be-launched regional airline in South India.

US-based billionaire private equity investor Wilbur Ross has also invested in SpiceJet and is believed to looking to sell his stake, the paper said. Ross invested $80 million in SpiceJet in July 2008 through foreign currency convertible bonds. In December this year, Ross will either have to convert or redeem the bonds.

Ross' stake will go up to 31 per cent if he converts the bonds, forcing him to launch the mandatory 20 per cent open offer, which he does not want to, sources said.