Mittal, Binani cede majority control in B4U Media to Abecross Holdings

MUMBAI: Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal has for long been wanting to offload his media investment in Indian music and movie channel network- B4U Media - as it does not form a part of his core businesses and has been looking for an exit.

Well he seems to have got one, partially at least, with the announcement at the beginning of the month that medium-sized equity firm Abercross Holdings is picking up a majority stake in B4U Network for pounds sterling 20 million. Abecross is led by former England cricketer Alex Loudon and Issam Hamid, former chief investment officer for the Saudi royal family, and Andrew Woodhouse who was formerly director of corporate finance and development at SABMiller.

B4U Media is being led by CEO Ishan Saksena, at the time of the Abecross acquisition, who had earlier managed the Queens Parks Rangers for the Lakshmi Mittal group. The company has a clutch of channels under its belt which includes: B4U Music, B4U Movies, and B4U Aflam. The channels are available in more than 100 countries globally. Additionally, it has been building up its on-the-go service B4U Mobile in recent times. B4U Media has a film production and distribution offshoot B4U Films.

“We are proud of the growth of B4U as a major content platform for Indian entertainment. Indian entertainment has many fans all over the world and B4U has played an important role in driving the awareness and enjoyment of this great art form,” says Swordfish Investments managing partner Amit Bhatia, the son-in-law of Lakshmi Mittal, who is the largest shareholder in B4U. The others being Gokul Binani and Eros’ Sunil Lulla (diamond merchant and film producer Bharat Shah was initially an investor too).

“Abercross has a vision to further grow the brand and cement its leadership position in this space. We wish them every success for the future and will follow the company’s progress with great interest,” he adds.

Adds Abecross managing partner Issam Hamid said: “B4U has developed into a fantastic brand with strong potential for growth and a proven management team. We are very pleased to welcome the company to our portfolio and are committed to growing the business and making it the foremost player in its space.”

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