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Rediff.com  » Business » 3i, Cisco invest Rs 552 cr in Nimbus

3i, Cisco invest Rs 552 cr in Nimbus

January 22, 2007 14:14 IST
Nimbus Communications Ltd on Monday said it has received private equity investment of Rs 552 crore (Rs 5.52 billion) from 3i, Cisco and Oman Investment Fund that would be deployed to fund sports rights acquisitions and develop global sports events among other purposes.

The transaction marks 3i's second investment in Nimbus, which holds the four-year telecast rights of Indian cricket board BCCI. The deal is among the largest-ever private equity investments in Indian media and entertainment sector.

"Nimbus' consistent year-on-year hyper growth, depth of management and aggressive expansion plans were key to attracting the highest quality investors to our third round of private equity investment," Nimbus executive chairman Harish Thawani said.

The investment is in the form of compulsorily convertible bonds that will convert into equity based on a pre-set formula, prior to an IPO or trade sale. Earlier, 3i had invested $45 million in Nimbus 18 months ago.

"The company's exemplary execution of growth plans has enthused us to participate in this round which is intended to fuel its goal of becoming a billion dollar company by 2010," Anil Ahuja, managing director and co-head Asia said.

Nimbus managing director Akash Khurana said 3i's participation, combined with the technological edge that Cisco brought and the Middle East culture knowledge through OIF, would assist in the company's future growth and profitability.

The investment will largely be deployed to fund sports rights acquisitions and develop global sports events. It will also be used to finance Indian language and international film production and distribution, develop further digital content production for wireless and VOD/IPTV platforms and expand the broadcasting operations of the company.

Cisco said its strategy was to invest in companies that have an innovative business model and help promote new and innovative uses of the Internet and networking technology.

Commenting on the deal, OIF chief investment officer Vijai Gill said in a statement: "OIF seeks to position itself as one of the region's leading private equity investors and it expects to achieve the same by investing in companies that are in high growth sectors, have a clear vision of their future and sound management."

According to a CII-KPMG report, entertainment industry in India is projected to grow by 20 per cent year-on-year to touch $13.5 billion (about Rs 59, 500 crores) by 2010.

Television would form the largest chunk in this industry, constituting over 60 per cent revenues at $8.4 billion (about Rs 37,100 crore) by 2010, as per the projections.

Nimbus was advised in this transaction by London-based Euromax Capital and Mumbai-based Enam Financial Consultants.

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