Indian media company raises third round of private equity

Nimbus Communications raises $125 million from 3i, Cisco and Oman Investment Fund.
IndiaÆs Nimbus Communications closed its third round of private equity raising securing Rs5.5 billion (approx $125 million) from 3i, Cisco and Oman Investment Fund. This is 3iÆs second investment in Nimbus, Oman InvestmentÆs first India deal and NimbusÆ largest PE funding to date. Investors will buy compulsorily convertible bonds that will convert into equity, based on a pre-set formula, prior to an IPO or trade sale.

Harish Thawani, executive chairman of Nimbus Communications, says: ôNimbusÆ 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.ö

NimbusÆ lines of business are sports, television, motion pictures and digital content. It has customers in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia with operations in India, Singapore, Middle East and the Caribbean which will shortly grow to include the US and UK.

Anil Ahuja, managing director and co-head, Asia at 3i, says: ô3i invested $45 million in Nimbus 18 months ago and its exemplary execution of its growth plans has enthused us to further participate in this round which is intended to fuel its goal of becoming a billion dollar company by 2010.ö

Nimbus began business in the early 1990s with television content production in Indian languages. It has since produced over 5,000 hours of programming. Nimbus also provides ad sales solutions on national and regional television in the country to independent TV producers, movie producers and sports events rights owners.

Nimbus Sport, a Singapore based wholly owned subsidiary, is a global sports marketing and television production company. It has a dominant position in cricket and produces live TV coverage of international cricket events across cricket-playing countries. The company recently launched two pay TV sports channels, NEO Sports and NEO Sports Plus, which are distributed over cable and DTH platforms by Star India.

In mid-2006, Nimbus acquired the business of a Hindi film distribution company. It will distribute 12-15 movies annually from 2007. Nimbus also owns and operates a mobile content production services facility and now proposes to launch mobile content products including a sports portal on mobile.

Nimbus plans to enter further content production, distribution and delivery sectors in 2007 and is projecting sales for the year ending March 31, 2007 of more then $225 million.

Nimbus was advised by Euromax Capital, London and Enam Financial Consultants, Mumbai.
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