Blackstone in $50m Indian media deal

The firm is acquiring an undisclosed stake in Jagran Media, which owns the Dainik Jagran newspaper.

The Blackstone Group will invest INR2.25 billion (€37.8 million; $50.5 million) in Jagran Media Network, which will hold a majority stake in Jagran Prakashan (JPL), an Indian media and communications group. 
The investment will give Blackstone a significant minority stake in Jagran Prakashan, a firm spokeswoman told sister publication PEI Asia

The transaction is subject to approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. 
JPL is an end-to-end media solutions provider with interests in newspapers, outdoor advertising, internet, magazines and mobile value added services. 
The company’s flagship brand is the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, the world’s most widely read newspaper with a readership of 54.6 million, according to a joint statement. The newspaper publishes 37 editions and more than 200 sub-editions across 11 states in the country. 
JPL also publishes 12 editions of I-Next, a bilingual compact newspaper, and 23 editions of City Plus, a weekly tabloid in English. Jagran.com, which marked the company’s move into the internet space with Yahoo India, is the largest web portal across all Indian languages, the statement noted.  
“Print media in Indian languages is poised to experience significant growth in the coming years, driven by increasing personal consumption levels in the tier II/ tier III cities as well as rural India,” Akhil Gupta, chairman and managing director of Blackstone Advisors India, said in a statement. 
The investment will be used primarily to pursue organic and inorganic growth, Mahendra Mohan Gupta, chairman and managing director of JPL, added.
This will be Blackstone's tenth investment in India and the firm has invested more than $1 billion in country so far, the spokeswoman said. 

In November 2009, Blackstone said it will invest up to INR2 billion in Gateway Rail Freight, an Indian rail logistics company, through the purchase of compulsorily convertible preference shares, which upon conversion, will give the firm a stake of between 37.27 percent and 49.90 percent in the company.
Two months earlier, the firm made a follow-on investment of INR1.42 billion in Allcargo Global Logistics, a private sector logistics operator, following its initial investment in the Bombay Stock Exchange-listed company in February 2008. 
A few of Blackstone’s other investments in India include construction company Nagarjuna Construction, garment exporter Gokaldas Exports, precision components company MTAR Technologies, CMS Computers, Emcure Pharmaceuticals and NSL Seeds, a hybrid seed company.