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UTV bets big on gaming, animation; eyes Indiagames, Ignition for acquisition

09-December-2006
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UTV bets big on gaming, animation; eyes Indiagames, Ignition for acquisition

UTV Software Communications Ltd is willing to shell out big bucks in a bid to get a foothold in the fast growing Indian gaming market. Close on the heels of recent announcements from various players on the launch of new games, UTV has set its sights on Indiagames and Ignition. The company has proposed to pay Rs 68 crore and Rs 60 crore to have controlling stakes in Indiagames and Ignition, respectively.

Indiagames, headed by founder and CEO Vishal Gondal, reported annual revenues of around $5 million for the last fiscal. The company has pioneered mobile and online gaming in India. Post transaction, the shareholders of the company will include Cisco Systems, Adobe Inc as well as the present management.

Indiagames is currently involved with developing, publishing and distributing mobile games across 67 countries through various telecom partners. Their latest ventures into PC games are being distributed online through broadband ISPs like BSNL, MTNL, Airtel and Tata VSNL.

Ignition Entertainment Ltd, a UK based company, has been a player in console game development, publishing and distribution across the globe.

Of the Rs 128 crore outlay for the acquisition of these companies, about Rs 60 crore would be for purchase from selling shareholders, while the balance would be for funding the future growth of these acquired companies.

Along with the foray into gaming, UTV also plans to get into animation movies and has announced an investment of Rs 135 crore for its development. The company plans to have at least three animation titles to its credit by 2009, for which it has roped in Simi Nallaseth and Arnab Chaudhury. UTV is now in the scripting stage of its CG animation production with Hollywood actor Will Smith’s Overbrook, which was announced earlier this year.

UTV expects to rake in about Rs 1,000 crore by 2009-10, from its combined verticals of animation and gaming, broadcasting, television and movies.

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