Nimbus to launch 3 sports channels, raises $ 30 million

MUMBAI: Harish Thawani's Nimbus Communications Limited today announced that it would be launching three sports channels between October 2006 and September 2007.

Nimbus also announced that it has raised Rs 1.35 billion ($ 30 million) fresh capital from Deutsche Bank with the option of seeking another $ 30 million. SAE Euromax Capital Ltd, the London based boutique investment bank acted as the transaction adviser to Nimbus.

The first, a cricket centric sports channel, will commence broadcasting from October 2006. The second channel will focus on sports entertainment, not restricting itself to merely sports events but also broadcasting sports themed entertainment programmes, is scheduled to commence broadcasting from April 2007. The third channel will be a sports news service and will launch September 2007.

It was last August that UK-based private equity and venture fund 3i acquired around 33 per cent stake in Nimbus for $45.50 million (approx Rs 1.97 billion).

The new capital raised is being largely invested by Nimbus in its sports broadcasting business. Nimbus believes that the introduction in India in 2006 of three new DTH platforms in addition to the existing DishTV (not counting Doordarshan's free service) will provide a major new thrust to cricket channels. The reasoning being that in addition to revenues from cable, multiple DTH platforms would drive subscription revenues.

Nimbus plans to provide separate feeds to DTH (HDTV, interactive, multiple languages), cable (SDTV customised, English/Hindi) and DD (basic feed).

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