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Nimbus plans 3 sports channels

May 15, 2006 13:04 IST

After bagging the four-year global media rights for telecasting cricket matches in India for Rs 2,700 crore (Rs 27 billion), Nimbus Communications now plans to float three sports channels at an investment of Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.50 billion).

The company raised Rs 135 crore (Rs 1.35 billion) on Friday from Deutsche Bank in the form of bonds, which is convertible into equity after a year at a market value of approximately Rs 200 per share (face value of Rs 5). Post conversion, Deutsche Bank will hold a 10 per cent stake in Nimbus Communication. This puts the valuation of the company at about Rs 1,350 crore (Rs 13.5 billion).

Nimbus also has the option to raise another Rs 135 crore from Deutsche Bank at the same price. The money raised by Nimbus will be used in creating the infrastructure for the new channels and for the purchase of future telecast rights.

The company will utilise its internal accruals of Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 million) for funding new projects. The first channel, slated for launch in October, will be a cricket channel.

The second channel, to be launched in April 2007, will be a sports entertainment channel. The third channel, to hit the tube in September 2007, will be a dedicated sports news channel.

The company is in the process of applying for the uplinking licences for the 24-hour channels.

The cricket channel will expand its footprint across Asia to Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, West Asia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. For the Pakistan territory, Nimbus has licensed Pakistan-based GEO TV.

Nimbus Communications Chairman Harish Thawani told Business Standard: "The Nimbus vision and business model was to be the world's first and cricket's largest end-to-end solutions provider and a vertically integrated sports company. With our entry in sports broadcasting, we have completed the entire chain -- from sports production to management and distribution of rights, sponsorship sales, event management, digital sports content production/delivery and now broadcasting."

Sonali Krishna in Mumbai