US-based investor George Soros has picked up 3 per cent stake in Reliance Entertainment for $100 million equivalent to Rs 400 crore. At this price, the yet-to-be listed company would be valued at Rs 12,000 crore or $3 billion. The deal underscores growing interest among foreign investors in India's booming entertainment business.
Reliance Entertainment is the flagship and entertainment company of Anil Ambani-run ADA Group. Through Reliance Capital and other group companies, ADAG also owns 58 per cent stake in Adlabs, a film processing and screening company that once belonged to well-known moviemaker Manmohan Shetty.
“We are delighted to have George Soros as a stakeholder in this company that operates in a high growth and high potential entertainment sector,” said a spokesman at Reliance Entertainment. When asked if the private placement was prelude to a public offering of shares in near future, he said: “We are far away from that stage and it will take some time before we take a call.”
Reliance Entertainment has three main verticals in entertainment space — Internet and new media, film entertainment, and also planning to venture in TV broadcasting. Under its Internet and New Media initiatives it has already launched a number of new ventures: Zapak - India's number one gaming portal, Big Adda - fast growing social network and social media venture with 1.25 million users, Big Flicks - online and offline movie rental business, and Jump Mobile - a mobile entertainment venture.
Reliance Entertainment recently signed up frontline directors like Farhan Akhtar -- for estimated Rs 300 crore for 6 films, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri, among others. It also acquired a controlling stake in India’s largest production studio ND Studio as well.