Public sector lender IDBI Bank will stay on course with its plan to auction four newspaper titles owned by debt-ridden media firm Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd (DCHL), despite other lenders staking claim on these trademarks. IDBI is selling the trademarks on an ‘as is’ basis. It means whoever acquires these does so along with the litigation. The titles have value and the publications have good circulation, an IDBI executive said. The case is being dealt at the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Hyderabad.
IDBI says it would transfer the titles to Deccan Chronicle, Andhra Bhoomi, The Asian Age and Financial Chronicle to the highest bidder. The final date for bids is coming Tuesday. A bank official said it was premature to say if the final deal (to sell) would happen. “We are testing the waters and the process of inviting bids is on.” In the middle of this month, IDBI had invited bids for the four titles. Then, Kotak Mahindra Bank issued a public notice that it had put a claim over the trademarks and the dispute was being adjudicated by the DRT. Besides IDBI, other banks and financial institutions have approached the DBT, as well as other courts, seeking attachment of the properties of DCHL’s promoters and also winding-up of the Hyderabad-based media company. DCHL owes about Rs 4,000 crore to 18 lenders.