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Sun shifts news depts out of Chennai

By S Kalyana Ramanathan in Chennai
February 21, 2008 10:48 IST
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The Maran-family controlled Sun Network has moved its regional language news departments out of Chennai to their respective states, following the family's break-up with ruling party Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) last year.

The network is also geared up to move out of its corporate headquarters, Anna Arivalayam, also the headquarters of the ruling DMK party.

Employees of Sun Network told Business Standard that respective regional news departments have been given marching orders to Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to be based out of the state capitals.

Sources said that the lack of space at the temporary office in Chennai was the reason for the decision to relocate the news teams.

An estimated 90 staffers have been given transfer orders following this decision. The network is constructing a new multi-storeyed headquarters in Chennai, which is expected to be ready for occupation in 2-3 years.

The change in the address of Sun Network will pinch, since it involves a monthly rental of Rs 22 lakh (Rs 2.2 million), according to Sun Network sources. The network, at its present address at the DMK headquarters, was paying a paltry sum of Rs 25,000 a month when it was in the good books of DMK party chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Sun Network's website (www.sunnetwork.in) continues to show its present address as the DMK headquarters' address. Network employees said they would be moving to the new address anytime soon. The network has not intimated stock exchanges about its proposed change of address yet.

On January 23 this year, the network, in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, had said that against the total projected utilisation of Rs 572 crore (net of issue expenses) from the initial public offer funds, Rs 310.35 crore (Rs 3.1 billion) has been utilised towards capitalisation of subsidiaries, Rs 10.33 crore (Rs 1 billion) towards construction of its corporate office and Rs 24.60 crore (Rs 2.4 billion) towards the purchase of new equipment and upgrade of existing equipment. The balance proceeds have been invested in fixed deposits with banks.

Sun TV Network's stocks closed today at Rs 312.10 on the BSE, falling Rs 5.80 or 1.82 per cent over the previous closing price.

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S Kalyana Ramanathan in Chennai
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