UK private equity fund acquires 33 per cent in Nimbus for Rs 2 billionUK private equity fund acquires 33 per cent in Nimbus for Rs 2 billion

MUMBAI: UK-based private equity and venture fund 3i is acquiring around 33 per cent stake in Mumbai-based Nimbus Communications for $45.50 million (approx Rs 1.97 billion), a move which will mark its entry into the Indian market.



The money will be deployed to fund sports rights acquisitions, develop global sports events, augment long term working capital, invest in TV production and infrastructure expansion, finance Indian language and international film production, Indian language film distribution, mobile content distribution, and develop further digital content production for wireless and video on demand platforms.

Nimbus will explore investments in sports and lifestyle broadcasting. Says Nimbus Communications executive chairman Harish Thawani,“3i was able to combine its global media expertise and local execution skills to speedily conclude this investment. But above all, the chemistry between us has been fantastic and we share a common belief in the global abilities of Nimbus and that’s where I believe 3i will add strategic value.”



Talking about 3i’s entry into the Indian market, managing director and co-head Asia Anil Ahuja says, “3i likes companies that seek aggressive growth tempered by prudent capital management. 3i believes that Nimbus with its impressive track record, management depth and global business strategy is well positioned to achieve its goal of becoming a billion dollar company by 2010.”

London-based financial services consultant Euromax Capital was exclusively mandated in this transaction. Says Euromax Capital managing director Darshan Desai, “We have been at the forefront of building bridges between Western capital and Eastern enterprise. In this landmark deal, the largest private equity investment in the Indian entertainment industry, Euromax Capital has catalyzed the first Indian investment by Europe's premier private equity house- 3i- into Nimbus which is India's leading sports & media company.”

Nimbus has a business mix of television, sports, motion pictures and digital content. It has produced over 5,000 hours of TV programming and currently airs 15 serials every week on various channels. Nimbus Sport International, the Singapore-based subsidiary company, is a sports marketing and production company. The current contracts include the management of commercial rights of International Cricket Council events mandated by the Global Cricket Corporation, the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of motor sport mandated by Team India and the Afro Asia Cup cricket mandated by the Asian Cricket Council.

The company provides digital content to the mobile telecommunications industry and is also a fledgling producer of Indian language movies. Nimbus plans to take over a leading film distribution company soon to enter the distribution business, it said in a release.

3i is a leading global private equity and venture capital, focusing on buyouts, growth and Venture capital and investments across Europe, the US and the Asia Pacific region. In the year to 31 March 31 2005, 3i invested $1.7bn. The Group is listed on the London Stock exchange and has over 1500 portfolio companies.

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