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Venture co 3i invests $45.5 m in Nimbus Communications

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Aug. 8

NIMBUS Communications has attracted the largest ever-private equity investment in the Indian media and entertainment industry — $45.50 million (approx Rs 197 crore) from 3i. This investment marks the entry of 3i, a world leader in private equity and venture capital, into the Indian market.

Commenting on this investment, Mr Harish Thawani, Executive Chairman, Nimbus Communications Ltd, said: "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."

This investment will be deployed to fund sports rights acquisitions, develop global sports events, augment long term working capital; fund investments 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 also explore investments in sports and lifestyle broadcasting.

Talking about 3i's entry into the Indian market, Mr Anil Ahuja, Managing Director & Co-Head, Asia, said: "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." According to Mr Darshan Desai, Managing Director of London-based financial services boutique Euromax Capital, which was exclusively mandated in this transaction, "Euromax Capital has 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 catalysed the first Indian investment by Europe's premier private equity house 3i into Nimbus which is India's leading sports & media company."

According to a CII-KPMG report, the entertainment industry in India is estimated at around $5 billion (about Rs 21,800 crore) for calendar 2004 and is projected to growth by 20% year-on-year to touch $13.7 billion (Rs 59,500 crore) by 2010.

Television (that overtook the film industry a few years ago) will form the largest chunk in the entertainment industry, with expected revenue growing from $3.18 billion (Rs 13,900 crore) in 2004 to $8.5 billion (Rs 37,100 crore) by 2010.

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