Mergers, acquisitions: Way forward for media companies

MUMBAI: Financing the growth in India's media and entertainment industry is one matter that concerns most media companies heads. While the information technology (IT) sector and the media industry are similar in nature given that both are IP driven as against asset driven and that both are human capital intensive; the media industry's growth has been at a rate of less than 20 per cent.

ICICI Venture director (investments) Bala Deshpande threw light on a few aspects of financing growth in India's media and entertainment industry. She said that even though the Indian IT and media sectors were somewhat similar, the former however has had far more success in fund raising. This raises the question as to whether investors had failed to understand the media sector.

Deshpande said, "When we invested in Aaj Tak we knew what the group was all about. It was an early stage risk because no one had heard of a 24 hour channel but our bet worked. We believed in Aroon Purie and his management, so backing a great management is very important. This is particularly pertinent for media."

She also pointed out that if consolidation was not happening in the media sector then the way forward would be mergers and acquisitions. "One question would be how to make the media industry relevant? It is relevant but it is not on the radar screen of investors," said she.

"We would like to invest more in media companies as there is immense potential there. We have not seen the kind of size, scale and attractiveness in the Indian media industry as it is in the western countries," she said.

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