AION picks up majority stake in Essel-owned PlanetCast

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MUMBAI: AION Capital Partners would buy a majority stake in PlanetCast Media Services, run among others by the Essel-Shyam Group, providing evidence of satellite broadcasting’s increasing appeal in the world’s second most populous nation that has a television set in two-thirds of the homes.

After the acquisition by AION for an undisclosed sum, PlanetCast will continue to be led by the current management team. Earlier known as Essel Shyam Communications, the company is promoted by the Essel-Shyam Group, and private equity firm Kubera Partners.

“We are pleased to have sponsored PlanetCast during this period of significant growth and transformation. PlanetCast’s foundation as a leader in the broadcasting services industry, position the company well for its new ownership under the AION Fund,” said Jawahar Goel, promoter of PlanetCast.

Founded in 1996, PlanetCast provides technology-led managed services to the broadcasting industry in India and neighboring countries. It is increasing its footprint across Southeast Asia, and provides bespoke solutions across content management operations, and distribution.

With a corpus of $825 million, AION is an India-focused fund established by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management and the ICICI Venture Funds Management Company.

“We are excited about PlanetCast,” said Utsav Baijal, Partner at the AION Fund. “We believe PlanetCast is a market leading franchise that delivers best-in-class digital media solutions to its customers. We look forward to working with PlanetCast’s talented and dedicated team to continue the business’s strong heritage of innovation and customer satisfaction.”

This represents the second transaction by the affiliates of Apollo in the Essel Group. They had invested $100 million into Dish TV in 2009 and exited that investment in 2015.

Lalit Jain, executive director at PlanetCast, said: “We believe that under the new leadership, PlanetCast can build on its industry leadership position and invest in emerging technologies to become the leading service provider to both the traditional and digital media economy.”