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AION Capital buys controlling stake in Planetcast Media

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-03-2017 Deborshi Chaki

AION Capital Partners Ltd, an India-focused special situations fund, has acquired a controlling stake in Planetcast Media Services Ltd (PMSL), said two people with direct knowledge of the development.

PMSL, formerly known as Essel Shyam Communications Ltd, offers services in the areas of digital media distribution and technology, content production and acquisition, and cloud broadcasting and streaming services to clients.

The firm was founded in 1996 as a joint venture between Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group and Shyam Telecom Ltd. In 2008, UK-based private equity fund Kubera Partners invested $17 million for close to a 41% stake in the Noida-based firm through a primary investment and a secondary purchase of shares from existing shareholders.

“AION has bought the stakes of Essel group, Shyam Telecom and Kubera Partners,” said one of the two people cited above, both of whom declined to be named.

With this transaction, AION owns a 90% stake in the company, while the remaining is held by a few minority shareholders, the person added.

“All the three promoters of Planetcast were looking to exit the business. Since AION has had a business relationship with Essel Group through its parent Apollo Global’s investment in Zee’s Dish TV, the negotiations did not take time,” the second person said.

Dish TV is the direct-to-home television unit of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, which is part of the Essel Group.

AION is an India-focused fund established by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management Llc together with ICICI Venture Funds Management Co. Ltd, with some $825 million in committed capital.

An email sent to Planetcast Media had not elicited a reply at the time of going to press. An AION Capital spokesperson declined comment.

In a regulatory filing on the London Stock Exchange on 20 March, Kubera Partners, which is listed on the exchenge’s Alternative Investment Market, said it had agreed to divest its entire stake in Planetcast, held by Kubera Cross-Border Fund (Mauritius) Ltd, for $22.5 million to an undisclosed private equity investor. The fund said the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

According to the people cited earlier, AION is likely to continue to run the company under the current management. For AION Capital, the transaction marks its second buyout deal in India. Last year, the private equity fund, along with former senior executives of GE Capital Pramod Bhasin and Anil Chawla, acquired the commercial lending and leasing business of GE Capital in India for an undisclosed sum.

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