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StanChart, Providence in joint talks for broadcaster

India's TV and entertainment sector has piqued the interest of two private equity firms in talks to acquire broadcaster Multi Screen Media.

Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) and Providence Equity Partners are in negotiations to invest in Indian broadcaster, Multi Screen Media (MSM), an industry source confirmed to PE Asia.

The source disputed existing media reports which said that the private equity firms had agreed to invest $230 million for over 35 percent of the company, and noted that for now, no details had been finalised.

According to local media, the private equity funds had agreed to buy the shares held by investors including Capital International and Sony Pictures Television.

MSM is the broadcaster of television channels Sony TV, SET Max, SAB TV, Sony Pix, AXN and Animax. According to the Business Standard, the channels account for 15 percent of the Hindi entertainment space.

SCPE has been on an acquisition spree as of late. Some of its newly acquired portfolio companies in India include basmati rice producer, Bush Foods; India’s youngest stock exchange, the United Stock Exchange (USE) and GMR Airports.

Speaking to PE Asia in a separate interview, SCPE’s newly appointed global co-head Nainesh Jaisingh said one factor pushing India businesses in the direction of private equity is the stagnant domestic stock markets which have been traditionally the simplest path for businesses looking to raise capital.

Providence, meanwhile, is no stranger to Asia’s broadcasting industry, having invested INR2.6 billion (€40.2 million; $58 million) in digital cinema provider UFO Moviez India in April.

In the beginning of the year, the firm acquired a 26 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed free-to-air broadcaster Television Broadcasts (TVB) from the company's co-founder Run Run Shaw.

The firm was also reportedly one of the bidders for Taiwanese cable and broadband operator China Network Systems (CNS), but eventually pulled out of its bid due to differences over price.