3i, Cisco, OIF invest USD 125 m in Nimbus

MUMBAI: 3i, Cisco and Oman Investment Fund (OIF) have announced an investment of US $ 125 million (Rs 552 crore) in Nimbus Communications Limited.

This marks 3i’s second round of investment in Nimbus, the entry of OIF into the Indian market and Cisco’s continued strategy to invest across the Indian content industry. Says Nimbus’s executive chairman Harish Thawani,”Nimbus’ consistent year-on-year hyper growth, depth of management and aggressive expansion plans were key to attracting the highest quality investors to our third round of private equity investment.”

The investment is in the form of compulsorily convertible bonds that will convert into equity based on a pre-set formula, prior to an IPO or trade sale.

The investment will be deployed to fund sports rights acquisitions, develop global sports events, finance Indian language and international film production and distribution, develop further digital content production for wireless and VOD/IPTV platforms and expand the broadcasting operations of the Company.
Says 3i’s managing director and co-head Asia, Anil Ahuja, “3i invested US $ 45 million in Nimbus 18 months ago. The company’s exemplary execution of its growth plans has enthused us to further participate in this round which is intended to fuel its goal of becoming a billion dollar company by 2010.”

According to a CII-KPMG report, the sports events, sports TV production and sports broadcast sector in the country is considered to be the fastest growing sector in the media and entertainment industry and the Company estimates the sports sector to grow to US $ 1.8 billion (approx Rs. 7.920 crores) in 2010.

OIF’s chief investment officer Vijai Gill says, “OIF is a relatively new investment vehicle which seeks to position itself as one of the region’s leading private equity investors and it expects to achieve the same by investing in companies that are in high growth sectors, have a clear vision of their future and sound management. We found that Nimbus fit the bill perfectly on all counts and is especially well positioned to continue growing off the Indian consumer’s rapidly rising disposable income and passion for cricket.”