Apollo-backed India special sits firm acquires Planetcast

The investment comes nearly a year after AION Capital Partners acquired GE Capital’s lending business for over $300m.

Special situations manager AION Capital Partners, an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, and the Mumbai-headquartered ICICI Venture Funds Management Company, has acquired Indian firm Planetcast Media Services from shareholders including Mumbai-based private equity firm Kubera Partners and Indian conglomerates Essam Group and Shyam Group, Private Equity International has learned.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed but according to a London Stock Exchange filing, Kubera is selling its entire 41.9 percent stake in the company for INR 1.48 billion ($22.5 million; €20.9 million).

The sale is subject to regulatory approvals.

Kubera made the investment in Planetcast through its Kubera Cross-Border Investment Fund, a closed-ended fund traded on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. The firm specialises in cross-border companies, primarily those that operate in US and India, and had made a total of seven investments to date via the fund.

New Delhi-headquartered Planetcast, formerly known as Essel Shyam Communications, is a digital media distribution company whose customers include FOX, MTV and ET Now, the company said on its website.

AION is a joint venture set up by US firm Apollo and Mumbai-based private equity firm ICICI in 2014. The firm is currently deploying its 2014-vintage $825 million AION Fund that invests solely in special situation opportunities in India. In March last year, the firm acquired the commercial lending and leasing business of GE Capital for a reported $330 million. Among its previous investments include PepsiCo products distributor and manufacturer Varun Beverages. In the past, food company Jyoti International, and Indian business conglomerate Avantha Holdings.

About a dozen funds including KKR, TPG and AION are also focused on the distressed assets market in India, lured by the prospects of buying companies at significant discounts. According to the Reserve Bank of India, gross non-performing assets in the country as of March 2016 had risen to INR 6 trillion ($90 billion; €85 billion) compared with INR 3.1 trillion a year earlier.