James Murdoch’s fund cuts investment in Reliance-backed Viacom18
James Murdoch’s enterprise fund, Bodhi Tree, lower its deliberate funding in Viacom18 to $528 million, down 70% from the $1.78 billion dedicated.
Viacom18, a three way partnership between Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance and Paramount International, didn’t disclose why Bodhi Tree was lowering its dedicated funding. In accordance with a earlier assertion, the deliberate funding was initially scheduled to be accomplished by October final yr.
Murdoch introduced Bodhi Tree along with his longtime collaborator Uday Shankar final yr. Qatar Funding Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, is Bodhi Tree’s largest investor. Bodhi Tree pledged a $1.78 billion funding in Viacom18 within the fund’s preliminary backing in April final yr.
Reliance, which owns nearly all of Viacom18, mentioned in an announcement that it has contributed $1.32 billion to the media big, out of the deliberate $216 million.
Uday Shankar and James Murdoch will present strategic and operational steering to Viacom 18, leveraging their historical past of constructing iconic media companies, enabling Viacom 18 to resume and disrupt the monitoring and analysis business. Reliance mentioned in an announcement that Uday Shankar has been appointed to the Viacom18 Board of Administrators.
As a part of the funding, Viacom18 mentioned final yr it’s going to strengthen JioCinema, an on-demand video streaming service owned by telecom big Jio Platforms. Reliance and Viacom18 have made streaming IPL cricket event free for anybody with an web connection in India to courtroom their clients removed from Disney, whose Hotstar app has gained greater than 50 million subscribers because of the wild reputation of cricket content material.
Viacom18, a enterprise between Ambani’s Reliance and Paramount, just lately outstripped Disney to safe 5 years of IPL streaming rights for the Indian Subcontinent for a complete of $3 billion.
Murdoch and Shankar mentioned in a joint assertion final yr that they’re working to “reshape the leisure expertise on greater than 1 billion screens”.
The 2 beforehand ran a fund known as Lupa, which has invested in plenty of Indian startups, together with brief video platform and information aggregator DailyHunt and edtech DoubtNut.
Shankar started working with Murdoch in late 2000 whereas overseeing Information Corp’s Asian enterprise. The Indian entrepreneur left Disney in late 2020 after spending two years as president of the Asia-Pacific area and head of India operations.
In 2007, he helped the embattled Indian tv community turn out to be one of many nation’s largest media conglomerates. Alongside Ajit Mohan, who has since moved into the management place of Snap in Asia, the duo helped the corporate get into the publishing enterprise with Hotstar, which has since amassed a whole bunch of tens of millions of customers and is a crown jewel in Disney’s streaming recreation.
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