A fund owned by George Soros has bought 3% stake in Reliance
Entertainment, the films-to-mobile gaming company founded and owned by
Mr Soros, the maverick billionaire whose run on the pound triggered a currency crisis in Britain in 1992, will buy new shares in Reliance Entertainment for about $100 million. The deal values the company at about $3 billion.
Reliance Entertainment produces and distributes movies, provides gaming services and runs a social networking portal. It also operates a growing home video and music business. Group company Adlabs runs multiplexes and FM radio stations across the country.
The money will be used to expand the companyâ€™s presence in these segments and also produce movies that have been signed with directors such as Farhan Akhtar, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri. Reliance is already a leading player in the movie business and recently bought out ND Studios.
Also, Reliance Entertainment hopes to enter the TV broadcasting business later this year with a slew of channels providing news, general and business and entertainment.
Group officials said Sorosâ€™ investment is just one part of its fund-raising plans. The company will probably raise more money during the year either through private placement, debt or an initial public offer, they said.
Incidentally, this is not Mr. Sorosâ€™ first association with the group. Back in 2006, he and Mr. Ambani held talks about forming a multi-billion dollar telecom fund to invest in telecom companies and related businesses around the world. Mr Ambani was to invest $500 million in the venture. One objective of the fund was to act as the acquisition vehicle if Reliance Communicationsâ€™ bid to buy Hutchison Whampoaâ€™s stake in Hutch-Essar got through.
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