SAIF to invest INR1.2bn in Indian media conglomerate

Before the Asian private equity firm’s investment, Network 18 raised INR2 billion from its promoters to shore up its balance sheets.

SAIF Partners is to inject approximately INR1.2 billion ($25 million; €18 million) in Indian media conglomerate Network 18 via the purchase of 9.2 million equity shares at INR130 per share.

SAIF Partners declined to comment.

Network 18’s board of directors has approved the sale, which is still subject to shareholder approval. The company was trading at INR158.20 per share at press time, up from its close a week ago at INR126.60.

The company’s board recently approved a private placement of up to 25 million shares to institutional investors. Earlier this year, Network 18’s promoters injected about INR2 billion into the company, via roughly 18 million secured optionally convertible debentures at a price of INR110 per unit. The capital would “strengthen the balance sheets” of its underlying companies, Network 18 said.

Network 18 has interests in media sectors such as television, print, internet, filmed entertainment and mobile content. Its businesses include business news television channels, internet players and real time financial information and news terminals.

SAIF Partners has previously invested in HomeShop18, one of Network 18’s TV channels. Its other investments in India include food processor Asian Health and Nutri Foods, IT services company Intelligroup Asia and packaging film company Jindal Poly Films.

In May 2007, SAIF Partners raised $1.1 billion for its second fund. The fund allocates up to 80 percent of its capital to Greater China and the remaining to India and Korea.

Headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in China and India, SAIF Partners invests primarily in China, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The firm makes investments across sectors such as consumer products and services, technology, media, telecommunications, financial services and healthcare.