MUMBAI: The news of New Silk Route (NSR) approaching buyers
to divesting a part of its stake in 9X Media is out. And Pradeep
Guha, the managing director of 9X Media, who incidently also
holds a small (15 per cent) stake in the group feels this
could not be a better move for the network.
"If more buyers come in with more money, then it is
only going to benefit the group," he says.
However, he has not decided if he will be offloading his
holding or keeping it. He feels that it is too early to discuss
it and all depends on what happens next.
Launched as INX Media, the company started operations with
9XM. It was renamed
9X Media in August 2010, with complete focus on its music
business. (The assets and liabilities of the mother GEC 9X
were absorbed by Zee Entertainment.) It currently operates
five channels, 9XM (Hindi music channel), 9XO (international music), 9X Jalwa (classic
Bollywood music), 9X Tashan (Punjabi) and 9X Jhakaas (Marathi).
The NSR had invested in the network founded by Peter Mukerjea
and his wife Indrani Mukerjee in 2007 and took over its reins
in 2011. "We are a private equity fund so it was but
obvious that at some point we will exit the venture,"
says NSR Advisors partner Shantanu Nalavadi who clearly states
that it is the company's seventh year in the group as an investor.
Nalavadi proudly proclaims that over the years, the group
has become a great platform. "We are now known as a music
group and we hope to be known as the music destination among
He highlights that it will continue to invest in 9X Media
because it has been showing 30 per cent growth year on year.
"We didn't take the decision overnight and are in talks
with others over the past two years or so. And we will not
leave it completely," he clarifies.
According to Mihir Date, a consultant with Ernst & Young
says that with 100 per cent FDI allowed in non-news channels
there will be many takers. He adds that the plan to sell it
when the company is at a peak is a wise decision. "The
position of 9X Media is good in the genre and its plans to
expand are positive signals for any buyer."
That must be music to Guha's ears.