The corporate ownership story in Multi Screen Media, formerly known as Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India, has taken one more turn. Sources informed that MCorp Global had bought a 32 per cent stake in the company for a sum of $320 million. With this development, the Indian investors in Multi Screen Media have finally got the exit route that they were looking for.
MCorp’s Dr Bhupendra K Modi has been interested in the Indian media and entertainment domain for some time now. Some of the first steps seen from Dr Modi were in the form of Spice World and Spice Cinemas, which so far have only a North India presence, but the company is gearing to expand Spice Cinemas pan India now.
This stake in Multi Screen Media further gives Dr Modi a significant foothold in the Indian media and entertainment industry. Bhuvan Lall, former Executive Director of Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), who is President of Entertainment in MCorp Global, was an advisor on this deal.
Despite repeated attempts, Multi Screen Media officials were not available for comment on the development. Sources close to the development, however, informed that the deal was signed last week in California.
The shareholding pattern in Mutli Screen Media now would see Sony Corp, US, owning 60 per cent; Capital International, US, owning 8 per cent; and MCorp Global owning 32 per cent. The group of Indian investors that include Shemaroo Entertainment’s MD Raman Maroo, World Media Group Director Sudesh Iyer, MobiApps Holding’s Jayesh Parekh, actor Jackie Shroff and Sushil Shergill are now out of Multi Screen Media.
Media analysts, who refrained from offering any comments on the development just yet, did say that the move would be a positive one for Multi Screen Media as MCorp Global, being an industrial group, would look at the benefits of this investment in the long term and that would bring further stability to the group in its future endeavours.
As is known, Multi Screen Media has actively looked at launching an initial public offering (IPO) for some time now. The company’s restructuring process in 2006, where the then SET India had acquired SET Singapore, was seen as a move in this direction. The IPO plans, however, didn’t take off, and what would be the final word on that in the new structure still remains to be seen. At least for the time being, with this development, the various disagreements seen between the shareholders of Multi Screen Media would rest for a while.