Who Owns Your Media: New Indian Express through disputes, dreams, on road to recovery

A Newslaundry series that deciphers the ownership of India's major news organisations.

WrittenBy:Pooja Bhula
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The New Indian Express is the southern continuum of Ramnath Goenka’s legacy. And so also the continuum of the first edition of Express, as it was published by its founding-owner Varadarajulu Naidu in Tamil Nadu in 1932. Goenka assumed full control of the publication at least five years later, as mentioned in BG Verghese’s book, Warrior of the Fourth Estate.

In a sense, the seed of TNIE’s conception was sown years later when, as per the book, Goenka inducted his grandchildren into management to assess their capabilities and eventually narrowed down on his daughters Krishna and Radha’s sons, Vivek Khaitan and Manoj Sonthalia, respectively. An exercise he undertook after his own son, Bhagwandas, died of a cardiac arrest in 1979. Bhagwandas did not have any male heirs.  

Khaitan and Sonthalia, the book said, variously managed the Bombay and Delhi centres, and the Madras and southern editions, respectively. And although Goenka may not have anticipated the group to split, eventually when it did, after he passed away in 1991, it was on the same lines.

But the split was not easy. 

As Newslaundry stated in the report on The Indian Express in Who Owns Your Media series:

Goenka had also considered a trust as, like some senior editors and close friends, he too considered Express something of a national institution. But after a massive heart attack in 1991, he adopted Vivek and reconstituted the Express board with close associates like Nusli Wadia, Venu Srinivasan and Vivek. The adoption caused a rift in the family.

Goenka decided to transfer 62.72 percent shares to Viveck and 33.12 to Manoj. Radha Sonthalia held the balance 0.16 percent. After Goenka’s death in 1991, Nusli Wadia honoured that commitment. 

Manoj and Saroj (Bhagwandas’ wife) challenged this in the Madras High Court but got no relief. Manoj and Viveck eventually entered into a settlement in 1995 whereby Sonthalia took charge of the Madras, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin and other southern editions (and publications), while Viveck kept Delhi, Chandigarh, Bombay, Pune and Gujarat as well as Financial Express. Manoj’s southern fold eventually became The New Indian Express.

That said, initially, the plan was not to immediately completely split. In March 1995, India Today reported that “to maintain some continuity, the cousins are not splitting the editions right away and will continue to quote combined circulations for advertising. They should be cooperating for the next 36 months at least.”

It further said, “The cousins will not only share advertising revenues (in proportion to the circulation of their editions) but also the Express News Service which controls all the news-gathering personnel. They will also continue to have a common editor-in-chief in HK Dua, and, sources close to the cousins claim, a fundamentally common editorial policy and content.”

Both cousins were 37 at the time.

As per Verghese’s book, Manoj’s mother Radha suffered from a disability, and in 1965, she lost her husband Shyam Sundar Sonthalia to kidney failure. Manoj’s elder brother, Anil, also suffers from an intellectual disability. Therefore, the 1995 court judgement, besides finalising the settlement between Manoj and Viveck, decreed a solution to take care of Anil’s interest, share, and future financial well-being as well. To this end, it ordered: 

Manoj Kumar Sonthalia forthwith the providing and founding a trust in perpetuity for the benefit of Anil Kumar Sonthalia and his dependants and his heirs and legal representatives in each generation following and contribute a sum of Rs 1 crore within one week from today (March 9, 1995) for the said trust by depositing the said amount with Mr N Ram, editor, Frontline

N Ram and senior advocate NR Chandran were appointed as the trustees. They were jointly responsible for managing the trust free-of-cost, except for administration expenses, and also free of control or direction from any other party related to the proceedings. 

Moreover, they were required to invest the contribution to earn maximum gains, not diminish the corpus, and try to ensure that the monthly income is not less than Rs 1 lakh. They were expected to distribute the benefits to Anil as required for a decent living for him and his dependents and to accept his wife Veena Devi’s demands, except where they found the requirements extravagant. In the event of the demise or disqualification of either trustee, the surviving trustee would have the right to nominate a person, and the nominee would be the trustee for life accordingly.

At the time, India Today had also reported that Indian Express’s former financial adviser, Gurumurthy, appeared to be emerging as a key adviser to Sonthalia and that it had led to consternation among the staff in the south about whether The New Indian Express would be influenced by Gurumurthy's pro-RSS ideological leanings. This April, The Caravan in its profile on Gurumurthy also brought out the proximity between the two. 

After the split – new name, new way

In 1997, the New Indian Express Group’s flagship company got a name change from Indian Express (Madurai) Private Limited to Express Publications (Madurai) Limited. 

About a decade after the split, in 2004, Exchange4Media reported in an interview with Sonthalia that he was a trustee of the Bala Mandir Kamraj Trust for children with special needs, besides holding positions as a member of the Central Pollution Control Board of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and a member of the Board of Directors of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. 

The interview revealed transformations in the group. Sonthalia said that print cannot expect to break news first, given platforms like TV, radio, and the internet, but added that what worked for “The Express Group” was that they still broke stories. “Sometimes the stories we investigate are of such significance, you’ll see TV channels picking them up for debate.” 

To cater to readers’ tastes and market requirements, the editorial thrust was shifting. He said, “So we are not confined to politics as most papers were until the 1980s. Other aspects of life have become important to people and we keep pace with them…Nevertheless, breaking stories about injustices, misdemeanours and malpractices will always be relevant.” 

Civic issues began gaining prominence too. He said, “People have become concerned about local issues… Our readership is much more demographically diverse now, and we address their interests… We recognise new technologies, job recruitments, corporate news, the emergence of fashion and entertainment trends, health information, and women's concerns as subjects of interest to modern newspaper readers. But we put a lot of effort into our city supplements, City Express and Express Weekend, and these supplements have civic campaigns as their distinguishing feature.” 

The group was making significant improvements to the quality of newsprint, and ad space measurement was converted from column-basis to a square centimetre. Sonthalia said in the interview that they had also ventured into the internet with indiavarta.com. But the link is broken, and the property does not feature on the group’s websites. Moreover, a digital entity with a similar name, India Varta News, seems to have no connection with the group. 

High net-worth individuals, he revealed in the E4M interview, were their target audience. 

The New Indian Express is clearly our flagship brand… The readers of our Tamil daily Dinamani have a higher profile than readers of many leading English dailies. Similarly, our Malayalam magazine, Samakalika Malayalan Vaarika, is read by the most intellectual and elite amongst Malayalees. Despite intensive competition from five other Kannada dailies, Kannada Prabha remains the choice of informed readers who want unbiased, reliable news reports.” 

Overall, gung-ho that revamping would give the company “a fresh spurt of growth,” Sonthalia expected that after a year or two, they would see “the most successful (years) the company has ever experienced.” 

Big dreams and more disputes 

In 2007,  Mint reported that Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd had plans to launch an IPO. Earlier, the company had also planned to sell stake to a private equity firm.  

Sonthalia told Mint, “The company is working on an aggressive expansion plan and the funds raised through these will help it bolster operations and expansion.”

He also admitted the company had not been doing well. “Past some time had been turbulent for us and we did not take advantage of the market. But now we are activating all our publications to show growth." 

In FY2007, the company’s losses stood at Rs 15.4 crore, and the EPML increased its authorised capital from Rs 12 crore to Rs 16 crore, and further to Rs 18 crore in FY2009. 

Mint’s report also said that the group aimed to increase the circulation of The New Indian Express to one million and attain a readership of four million, noting that The Hindu was leading in Tamil Nadu, and Deccan Chronicle and Times of India in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

Notably, TNIE and New Sunday Express magazine have had the highest circulation in the group, at least between 2011 and 2023 period (for which the circulation data is available in company documents, barring years 2013 and 2014). However, even at the peak of TNIE’s circulation, which was in 2011, it did not manage to reach even half a million

In 2010, the group’s daily Kannada Prabha, its subordinate brands and related assets were all transferred to Kannada Prabha Publications Ltd. 

By mid-2011, 51 percent of KPPL’s stake was sold to BJP politician Rajeev Chandrashekhar-promoted Asianet News Network Pvt Ltd. ANN reportedly paid close to Rs 150 crore for it. 

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The same year, the group discontinued its B2B magazine, All That Glitters, only to relaunch it in August 2012 with a focus on luxury jewellery and watch brands, targeting elite readers. In April and June 2011, respectively, it also launched Sunday Standard and Dinamani in Delhi.

Soon, Viveck Goenka of The Indian Express Group filed a case against Express Publications (Madurai) Ltd in Delhi High Court for displaying The New Indian Express as a brand in Sunday Standard. According to them, it violated the 1995 agreement that only allows the group to use the title in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Orissa, as DNA reported

“The issue is not about the weekly, but about the use of the title The New Indian Express in different parts of Sunday Standard,” a senior executive at The Indian Express group told DNA. “As long as they desist from using the title, we have no problems with Sunday Standard.” 

TNIE’s lawyer argued that given the title is a registered trademark, it is the prerogative of the organisation to use it anywhere it chooses to.

At this time, another dispute related to ad revenues was already going on between the two groups. 

As per an agreement dated August 12, 2005, the revenue on All India Billing for advertisements published in both EPML and The Indian Express Newspapers Mumbai Ltd (IENM) were to be shared between the two on the basis of the ABC circulation figures. In absence of the ABC figures from IENM, EPML fixed its share of revenue at 55 percent, based on its own figures and IENM’s circulation data last obtained in 2000, as per the ABC audit. 

Hence, as per EPML, a contingent income of Rs 12.18 crore exists pertaining to the financial years 2006, 2007, and 2008. IENM disputed this, and EMPL filed a civil suit with the Bombay High Court for a decree to render true and faithful accounts in terms of the said agreement based on ABC certified circulation figures or as per ABC guidelines from April 1, 2005.

The suit was pending for disposal, as per the latest available data from FY2023, and the ultimate quantum will depend on it and/or on the settlement of the dispute, although the 2005 agreement seems to have ended in 2011. 

EMPL’s 2012 annual report deemed it a year of re-definition, as the publication “went into the market without an all-India marketing advantage post the end of agreement with Indian Express Newspapers Mumbai Ltd from January-February 2011”. 

It also noted that subsequently, in Q1, Q2, and the initial period of Q3 in FY2012, its ad sales witnessed a slump. But it bounced back from October and grew rapidly thereon, touching “a whopping 26.4 percent,” excluding the all-India impact. Notably, ad sales were up by 3.4 percent against the previous fiscal year. 

Another dispute brewed in 2013. Business Standard reported that ANN was attempting to secure 100 percent control of KPPL, while Sonthalia was trying to regain control. 

The company documents indicated that in August 2014 it had initiated mutual conciliation and arbitration proceedings against Asianet News Network Pvt Ltd for certain disputes in accordance with its 2010 shareholder agreement. ANN too initiated proceedings against EMPL and filed a petition against both KPPL and EMPL before the National Company Law Board Tribunal, alleging oppression and mismanagement. While the NCLT deposed the matter in 2019, it permitted ANNPL to infuse funds in KPPL to tide over financial distress. Thereafter, EMPL filed appeals in the NCLAT. This suit too is still pending, as per the 2023 annual report. 

The next few years seemed to entail expansion and restructuring. Around 2016-17, the group opened four new printing centres at Thrissur, Kannur, Srikakulam and Nagapattinam. This is also the time two of its fortnightly magazines stopped publishing: Cinema Express, a Tamil magazine that first appeared on the digital newspaper subscription service Magzter in January 2013, and Sakhi,  a Kannada magazine that started appearing on Magzter in November 2012. 

However, the entertainment entity’s digital avatar, www.cinemaexpress.com seems alive and kicking. At the time of publishing this report, Cinema Express had more than 8,500 followers on Instagram, over 17K on X, 37K on Facebook, and on YouTube, which it joined in 2017, it had more than 175K subscribers.

In FY2018, Gnayiru Kondattam was relaunched with Dinamani. That year, Delhi saw the launch of The Morning Standard, a popular 1940s Bombay publication that later became part of Goenka’s Express group. 

The opening statement of Sonthalia’s letter to (potential) readers, published in The New Indian Express, emphasised that TMS had no intention of becoming “yet another addition to the crowded newspaper landscape in Delhi”. The objective of this edition was not to cater to the masses but “to the thousands who lead the millions” and focus on areas critical for a nation’s progress “to facilitate better cooperation between the government and the people.” 

In the letter to readers, Sonthalia had also emphasised “we shall toe no political line because we owe no allegiance to parties or ideologies”. 

“Our only ideology,” he added, “is the common good of the common people. We support the spirit of analysis and informed, constructive criticism…We shall be on the side of those who want India to develop along modern lines with respect for all and ill will for none.”

So, it’s ironic that 2018 was also when Cobra Post, started by Tehelka co-founder Aniruddha Bahal, conducted a sting operation and alleged that the group, apart from several other media houses, was willing to carry a Hindutva campaign in return for crores of rupees ahead of the 2019 polls.

TNIE denied the claim and said in a letter that discussion about an ad campaign cannot be extrapolated to editorial matters. Moreover, there was no final agreement about the ad campaign either.

In 2019, with NCLT’s approval, EPML changed its name to indicate its conversion from a public to private company. 

Gnayiru Kondattam and Kadir, which also had its own issues on Magzter from November 2019 to January 2020, got bundled with a Dinamini subscription thereafter. From the end of 2019 to early 2020, Ilaignarmani, Magalirmani and SiruvarMani too were available individually on Magzter. But they too ended up being bundled, and their last issues on Dinamini’s e-paper website were in April 2022.

Current portfolio 

The New Indian Express Group has 31 printing and publication centers, and publishes newspapers and periodicals in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa and the Union Territories of Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep, as of FY2023, as per the annual report. Two less than 2019 or the pre-pandemic number of 33, which also included the town of Yanam, a former French colony in Pondicherry. It also has marketing offices in Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi. 

The publications under the company’s print arm EPML include English dailies, The New Indian Express, The New Sunday Express, The Morning Standard (for New Delhi and the NCR), and The Sunday Standard published on Sundays in New Delhi. 

In Tamil, it has a news daily, Dinamani, and in Malayalam, it brings out a weekly, Samakalika Malayalam Vaarika

Going by Magzter, TNIE alone has a total of 31 editions printed in Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Nagapattinam, Kozhikode, Warangal, Chennai, Mysuru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Bhubaneswar, Jeypore, Madurai, Vishakapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore, Vijayawada, Thrissur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirupati, Kollam, Hubballi, Kannur, Kottayam, Shivamogga, Tirunelveli, Vellore, Villupuram, Belagavi, Anantapur, Tadepalligudem, Dharmapuri, Sambalpur, and Kalaburagi.

But Dinamini beats TNIE by one. It boasts of 32 editions in Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Kanyakumari, Kanchipuram, Puducherry, Tiruvarur, Vellore, Villupuram, Tirunelveli, Karaikal, Salem, Thoothukudi, Tiruvallur, Perambalur and Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Erode and Ooty, Dindigul and Theni, Dharmapuri, Karur, Nagapattinam, Namakkal, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai, Tenkasi, Thanjavur, Tiruppur, Tiruvannamalai, and Virudhunagar.

Notably, The New Sunday Express, which covered daily lifestyle news in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, and Bhubaneswar, was available only for six months on Magzter, from December 8, 2019 to July 5, 2020.

The Sunday Standard, whose first issue on Magzter dates back to November 2019, also stopped appearing on it after July 2020. The Morning Standard’s website displays the latest e-paper issues of both The Sunday Standard and The Sunday Standard Magazine.

Indulge, The Morning Standard is the group’s weekly tabloid magazine in Kolkata. In other cities, it’s simply called Indulge, and bears the TNIE logo. The magazine’s website also allows one to subscribe to its editions in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, and read its Kochi and Coimbatore editions. 

The magazine also has a lifestyle-focused digital avatar called Indulge Express. The website, indulgexpress.com, suggests one can catch all the dope on food, fashion, art, culture, and entertainment on it, including video stories of A-listers, from Priyanka Chopra to Alan Walker. 

It also features weekly columns on wellness, cars, bikes, gadgets, and the latest content on OTT. 

The website gives easy access to all its social media handles. On YouTube, it has 51.2K subscribers. The following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is 2,887, 20K, and 31.5K, respectively. 

Under the Indulge Express brand, the group has also dabbled in a podcast, The Indulge Podcast. Its last episode on streaming platforms JioSaavn, Gaana, and Spotify is from September 2022, and on YouTube from October 2023.

The group’s websites as well as the e-paper versions of its publications that go on Magzter come under Express Network Pvt Ltd, the company’s digital arm and a subsidiary of EPML. 

The biggest piece of the digital pie belongs to the flagship newspaper TNIE. It has 489.2K followers on X, 2.9mn on Facebook, and 202K subscribers on YouTube. Its e-paper apps are available on Google Play and Apple.

Dinamini only has a presence on YouTube. It has over 107K subscribers. But unlike TNIE, it does not livestream.

Next in line is Samakalika Malayalam Vaarika. Although it has merely 1,088 followers on X and its Facebook presence is an unofficial page created in 2010, with no posts, it boasts over 25K followers on Instagram and 83K subscribers on YouTube. It, too, does not stream live.

The Morning Standard has 1.1K followers on Facebook, while it is followed by 2,764 accounts on X. The Sunday Standard fares slightly better with 8,536 followers on X, but is not on any other platform. The New Sunday Express has no separate social media presence.

Apart from the digital versions of its publications, the TNIE group also has Edexlive, its educational portal that caters to students and the youth.

Briefly, from March to July 2020, Edex also published a magazine with editions in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha, and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, as per Magzter. While its following on Instagram and X is 1,929 and 3,647, respectively, the reach on YouTube is much better, with 26.3K subscribers.

Two patterns emerge from all this. One, several of its publications, namely – Gnayiru Kondathan, Illaignarmani, Siruvarmani, New Sunday Express, Sunday Standard, and Edex Magazine – stopped publishing (at least on Magzter, and therefore possibly in print too) in 2020.

And two, on parsing the YouTube data, we find that the platform, and therefore video stories, have been a significant part of the group’s digital and social media strategy. 

TNIE and Dinamini were the first of its brands to dabble with YouTube, getting onto the platform around 11 years ago, or 2013-14. But they began populating it in earnest only about six years ago. TNIE also began streaming live four years ago. 

Other publications, such as Indulge, Cinema Express, and Malayalam Vaarika, started their YouTube journeys about five years ago. However, a significant spike in video content began around three years ago, or in the early days of the pandemic, in 2020.

Lastly, Event Xpress is its full-service event management company that conceptualises and executes events for the group as well as others. As per the website, it’s led by Prabhu Chawla, who’s also the editorial director of The New Indian Express and The Sunday Standard

Ownership pattern

The majority shareholder of the group’s flagship company, Express Publications (Madurai) Limited, is Siddharth Media Holdings Pvt Ltd. It owns 17,99,998 (or 99 percent) of the company’s 18,00,000 shares, as per the last available shareholders list of 2023. 

One share each is held by Manoj and Kalpana as nominees. 

Until 2020, though, Siddharth Media held four fewer shares – of which one each was held by Siddharth Sonthalia, RK Jhunjhunwala, Sathi Suresh and N Gopalan.  

Amrita Enterprises Pvt Ltd holds 10,000 debentures of EPMPL at Rs 10,000 each. 

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The single biggest owner of Siddharth Media Holdings, in turn, is Manoj Sonthalia with 3,58,307 (99.9 percent) of the company’s 3,58,427 shares. His wife Kalpana Sonthalia and son hold 60 shares each.  

Besides EPMPL, subsidiaries of Siddharth Media include Event Express Services Pvt Ltd, Ace Distributors Pvt Ltd and Claris Global Solutions Pvt Ltd. 

EPMPL’s key management personnel and directors as of FY2023 are:

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Moolah matters

At present, the complete financial information of Express Publications (Madurai) Pvt Ltd is available with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, largely from FY2015 to FY2023. A look at the data shows that the company’s operating revenues saw a gradual rise in the initial years – from Rs 255.57 crore in 2015 to Rs 318.7 crore in 2018. 

But it began to slide in 2019, dipping to Rs 303.68 crore, and even further once the pandemic hit. The operating revenues were Rs 262.21 crore in 2020, Rs 210.08 crore in 2021, and hit the lowest in 2022 at Rs 207.08 crore. 

After years of slump, FY2023 finally signalled recovery with an operating revenue of Rs 247.33 crore.      

Of the publication’s turnover of Rs 256.79 crore in 2023, ads fetched Rs 201.08 crore and circulation Rs 39.16 crore. The remainder of Rs 9.45 crore is classified as other income. As stated in the annual report, the turnover saw a rise of Rs 42 crore from the previous year. The ad revenues and circulation income of the previous year were Rs 162.22 crore and Rs 38.46 crore, respectively. Other income was Rs 6.75 crore.

As for the bottomline, the company made a big leap from incurring a loss of Rs 18.91 crore in 2015 to a profit of Rs 15.96 crore in 2016. But the profit almost halved to a sobering Rs 8.73 crore in 2017 and saw a strong comeback with Rs 14.79 crore in 2018.   

But in the next four years, it consistently made losses – Rs 15.71 crore in 2019, Rs 33.74 crore in 2020, Rs 20.63 crore in 2021, and Rs 33.51 crore in 2022. Corresponding to a recovery in revenues in 2023, the company managed to boast a profit of Rs 11.83 crore.

Through these years, TNIE’s publications have seen a gradual slide in circulation:

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As per company documents, as an intermediate subsidiary, EPMPL is not required to present the consolidated financial statements. 

Nevertheless, from subsidiary data available from FY2017 to FY2023, excluding 2020 and 2022, we glean that it has four wholly-owned subsidiaries: Express Network Pvt Ltd or ENPL; Express Publications (Chennai) Pvt Ltd or EPCPL; Express News Services Pvt Ltd or ENSPL; and Dinamani Publications Pvt Ltd or DIN. 

In 2017, only ENPL was operational. 

In the next fiscal year, EPCL and DIN showed a profit of Rs 9,292 and Rs 11,584, respectively, while, ENPL’s profit stood at Rs 53.84 lakh. 

In FY2019, EPCL's profits reduced to Rs 6,100, DIN’s to Rs 4,772, and ENPL’s profit dipped to Rs 23.28 lakh. 

The companies fared better in FY2021. The profit earned by EPCL rose to Rs 17,034, DIN’s profit increased to Rs 18,320 and ENPL’s stood at Rs 1.06 crore.  

In 2023, while EPCL and DIN’s profits rose to Rs 28,040 and Rs 19,636, respectively, ENPL’s profit dipped to Rs 76.61 lakh. 

These numbers show that even though the digital and social media reach of the group's publications ostensibly surpass its print circulation, the latter outperforms in revenue in comparison to the digital operations. 

EPMPL has 49 percent shareholding in its associate company KPPL. But as the KPPL’s matter is subjudice and disputes are pending, KPPL’s financial details are not reported by the company. 

The enterprise over which the key managerial personnel and their relatives have significant influence or ownership comprises Ambattur Enterprises Pvt Ltd.

All financial and ownership details are derived from financial statements and other company documents filed by the media house with the ministry of corporate affairs, the Bombay Stock Exchange, and the National Stock Exchange.

Infographics by Gobindh VB.

Citations

1. Book - Warrior of the Fourth Estate by BG Verghese

2. Who Owns Your Media: The Indian Express empire and where it stands today

https://www.newslaundry.com/2023/03/25/who-owns-your-media-the-indian-express-empire-and-where-it-stands-today

3. Rs 220 crore Indian Express group of late media baron Ramnath Goenka splits

https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/society-and-the-arts/media/story/19950331-rs-220-crore-indian-express-group-of-late-media-baron-ramnath-goenka-splits-807073-1995-03-30

4. 1995 Court Order

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/61205/

5. How S Gurumurthy brought the Sangh to politics and economics

https://caravanmagazine.in/politics/gurumurthy-rss-indian-express-demonetisation-hindu-economics

6. Interview: Manoj k Sonthalia, Chairman and Managing Director, Express Publications, Madurai 

https://www.exchange4media.com/contentisking-news/manoj-k-sonthaliachairman-and-managing-directorexpress-publicationsmadurai-86344.html

7. New Indian Express plans IPO, stake sale to PE https://www.livemint.com/Money/ElXQCS2YzLw0rIouqewQtK/New-Indian-Express-plans-IPO-stake-sale-to-PE.html

8. Interesting tussle on to gain control of 'Kannada Prabha'

https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/interesting-tussle-on-to-gain-control-of-kannada-prabha-113071701107_1.html 

9. Indian Express sues New IE again

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-indian-express-sues-new-ie-again-1549737

10. The Morning Standard: From a proud past to the future

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/nov/19/the-morning-standard-from-a-proud-past-to-the-future-1900225.html

11. India Today and The New Indian Express deny allegations by Cobrapost

https://theprint.in/india/governance/india-today-and-the-new-indian-express-deny-hindutva-push-allegations-made-by-cobrapost/63153/

12. New Indian Express response to Cobra Post

https://cobrapost.com/public/image/NewIndianExpress.pdf

13. https://www.indulgexpress.com/about-us

14. Financial statement/annual reports, shareholding and other documents of EPMPL from Ministry of Corporate Affairs. 

15. Shareholding and subsidiary documents of Siddharth Media from Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

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