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Private equity investments swamp new media outfits

India's new media space has recently seen a spate of stake buyouts by private investors and venture capitalists, reports Saurabh Turakhia.

business Updated: Nov 22, 2007 22:15 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

India's new media space has recently seen a spate of stake buyouts by private investors and venture capitalists. A few days ago, leading global communications group WPP acquired a 75 per cent stake in Quasar Media Private Limited -- a subsidiary of Smile Interactive Technology Group that specialises in digital marketing and web solutions.



Now, Capital 18, the venture-capital and private-equity arm of Network18, has announced an investment in Webchutney, a full-service interactive agency.



Reliable sources say it is an all-cash deal, though the size of the deal remains unknown.



Webchutney aims to leverage the funding to scale up operations and fuel growth. Webchutney was founded in 1999 to provide internet professional services. Russian Hill Ventures had invested in Webchutrney Studio.



Sarbvir Singh, MD-Capital18, told

HT

, "We are actively looking at investing in outfits in the media, entertainment and education space. Recently, we made an investment to the tune of $4 million in 24x7 learning."



Experts feel this is just the beginning of further buyouts in the space. Prasanth Mohanachandran, executive director-Digital Services,

Neo@Ogilvy

, India & OgilvyOne Worldwide, India, said: "The interest in new media outfits, including VAS companies is not new. One invests in either of two stages – one when it is being born or once it becomes an adult. We believe digital has earned its right to be an adult."



"Most private equity today is flowing into companies in the area of game development and mobile VAS," he said.



In September, Onmobile, a mobile value services provider incubated by Infosys, took over 100 per cent of Paris-based company Voxmobili for $35-40 million. Voxmobili provides personal mobile data management software.