Skip to main content

Why all this buzz around media?

The latest issue of Businessworld magazine has a cover story on the heightened deal-making in the media and entertainment sector in 2005.

Here's my take on the Private Equity action in the Media & Entertainment sector (some parts of which were featured in the Businessworld article):

For almost three years since the 2000 downturn, PE and VC firms focused whatever little investments they were making into the Information Technology and BPO services sectors. The media & entertainment sector, which was reeling under the impact of the sharp decline in advertising spends, never got a dekko.

September 2003 witnessed two major investment announcements in the media & entertainment sector: Henderson Global Investors' $27.8 million investment in HT Media for a 20% stake and ICICI Ventures' $22.2 million buyout of the Tatas 50% stake in Tata Infomedia. HT Media went on to raise a further $15.3 million from CIFC (a part of Citigroup) and Henderson in October 2004 - the only significant media investment by PE firms in that year.

A key factor in driving investments by PE firms is how successful they would be in finding profitable exit routes – either via an IPO or the acquisition of the investee company. 2004 was a great year in this respect with private equity firms exiting their investments in as many as 30 Indian companies across all sectors, six of them via IPOs. The biggest media sector exit during the year was New Delhi Television’s $24.5 million April IPO which provided an exit route for its PE investors including Goldman Sachs, Saffron Fund, JF India Fund, JP Morgan and SBI Capital Markets. Infinity Ventures and IL&FS VC exited their investment in gaming software firm Indiagames when China-based TOM Online acquired an 80% stake in the company for $17 million in December 2004.

Talking of exits, the August 2005 IPO of HT Media is likely to be a major milestone for PE investments in the sector. Henderson has already realized its original investment via the 5% stake it sold via the IPO. Any sales of its remainder shares (it is estimated to own about 10% stake post IPO) above the IPO price will be pure profit. Canadian PE firm CDPQ too obtained an successful exit for its investment in UTV Software Communications via the company's $20 million March 2005 IPO.

Catalyzed by these successful exits, 2005 is turning out to be a blockbuster year for media sector investments: UK-based PE firm 3i's $45 million investment in Nimbus Communications in August 2005 follows BSMA and Arisaig Partners’ $12 million investment in Adlabs Films (April), New Vernon Bharat's $7 million investment in Jagran TV (May), Kerala Venture Capital Fund's investment (amount not disclosed) in Film and TV production firm Symphony Entertainment (June) and Americorp Ventures' acquisition of a 9.33% stake in TV broadcasting firm Asianet Communications for a undisclosed amount (March). Add to this Reliance Capital's $83.7 million strategic investment into Adlabs Films in July, and it is clear that a major party is on. So much so that some US VC investors are now actively looking for investments in Internet media companies – something considered a downright bad word just two years ago!

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

Popular posts from this blog

VC Interview: Shailendra Singh of Sequoia Capital India

In a recent interview to Venture Intelligence, Shailendra Singh discussed some of the firm’s newer investments in the early stage segment including in the online payments space, the progress at a few existing portfolio companies and the active role the firm is playing in helping its portfolio companies scale and succeed in India and globally. Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Singh was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in New York and before that, an entrepreneur in the digital media industry. Venture Intelligence: How does Sequoia go about identifying potential early stage investments in India? Is there anything different you are doing today than, say, a couple of years back? Shailendra Singh: There is a lot more focus on technology investing and early stage investing. In general, as you might remember a few years ago, we were doing primarily growth investing but in the past 18-odd months, we have had a very strong focus on early stage and that’s continuing. In terms

ChrysCapital, Motilal Oswal PE & Sequoia named PE-VC Firms of the Decade

Press Release ChrysCapital, Motilal Oswal Private Equity and Sequoia Capital India have been named the top Private Equity & Venture Capital investors in India during the last decade, as part of Venture Intelligence’s APEX Awards. The Venture Intelligence “Awards for Private Equity Excellence” (APEX) is dedicated to celebrating the best that the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital industry has to offer.  While ChrysCapital won the “Private Equity Investor of the Decade” award, Motilal Oswal Private Equity was feted as India’s “Growth Capital Investor of the Decade”. The Indian arm of the storied Silicon Valley VC firm, Sequoia Capital, was named the country’s “Venture Capital Investor of the Decade”. The APEX Awardees are selected based on both Self Nomination by the participating PE-VC firms as well as "crowd sourced" nominations and voting from the Limited Partner, PE-VC and advisory communities. (The main criteria were Exit Track Record, New Fund Raises & Fo

Ambit tops League Table for Transaction Advisors to Private Equity deals in 2019

Ambit Corporate Finance topped the Venture Intelligence League Table for Transaction Advisor to Private Equity Transactions for the year 2019. Ambit advised PE deals worth $2.4 Billion (across 4 qualifying transactions) during the period. Citi ($1.1 Billion across 2 deals) and  Avendus  ($969 million across 12 deals) took the second and third spot. Edelweiss Financial Services ($758 million across 9 deals) and  PwC  ($708 million across 15 deals) completed the top five in 2019.  The  Venture Intelligence League Tables , the first such initiative exclusively tracking transactions involving India-based companies, are based on value of PE and M&A transactions advised by Financial and Legal Advisory firms. Ambit Corporate Finance advised the $1.9 Billion buyout of Pipeline Infrastructure from Reliance Industries   by Brookfield Asset Management  and the IFC and I Squared Capital-backed   Cube Highways' acquisition of Delhi-Agra Toll Road from Reliance Infrastructu

Jio deals help PE investments climb 12% in H1'20 to $18.8 B

Press Release With Reliance Industries' communications unit Jio Platforms attracting 51% of the investment value, Private Equity-Venture Capital (PE-VC) investments in India rose 12% during the first 6 months of 2020 to $18.8 Billion (across 341 deals), shows data from  Venture Intelligence , a research service focused on private company financials, transactions and their valuations. Investments totaling over $9.5 Billion in Jio by a troop of global private equity firms, following social media giant Facebook's $5.7 Billion mid April investment in the company, helped overall PE-VC investments better the $16.8 Billion (across 503 transactions) invested during the same period in 2019. (Note: These figures include Venture Capital investments, but exclude PE investments in Real Estate).   Jio Platforms' $9.5 Billion Private Equity haul (excluding Facebook’s strategic investment) was led by Middle Eastern and American investors with KKR, Saudi Arabia's Public Invest

Inventus, Sixth Sense, Blume & Norwest win Apex'20 Venture Capital Awards

Inventus Capital Partners, Sixth Sense Ventures, Blume Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners were voted the top Venture Capital investors in India during 2019. The Venture Intelligence “Awards for Private Equity Excellence” (APEX) is dedicated to celebrating the best that the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital industry has to offer. Other 2019 winners in the VC segment included  Axilor Ventures which was voted   the  Accelerator of the Year for the second year running, 3one4 Capital (VC Fund Raise of the Year) and Innoven Capital (Venture Debt firm of the Year). The APEX Awardees are selected based on both Self Nomination by the participating PE-VC firms as well as "crowd sourced" nominations and voting from the Limited Partner, PE-VC and advisory communities. (The main criteria are Exit Track Record, New Fund Raises & Follow-on Funding Rounds for Portfolio Companies).    " It is an honour to be recognised by entrepreneurs and investors as