9.9 Mediaworx, a media company floated by Pramath Sinha, former CEO of the Kolkata-headquartered media firm ABP (Anand Bazaar Patrika), a former partner at McKinsey and the first dean of Indian School of Business, recently acquired the brands and businesses of the 40-year old, Mumbai-based specialist publications company Jasubhai Digital Media. This is the second instance of a media startup acquiring established brands. Recently, ACK Media, a company backed by Shripal Morakhia of SSKI, took over the children’s legendary media brands Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle. 9.9 Mediaworx is founded by Sinha and by his former colleagues at ABP – which included Vikas Gupta (formerly head of marketing of Coca-Cola India and chief marketing officer at ABP) and Asheesh Gupta (formerly CEO, Hero Mindmine and vice-president, strategy, at ABP). VC Circle spoke to Sinha to understand the company’s future plans.
What led to 9.9. Mediaworx?
Having spent considerable amount of time working with McKinsey, and also with ABP, I understand the subtle nuances of how to make money in business. It was partly driven with an urge to do something of my own, intensely passionate to shape my idea and build it into a bigger, better business.
Tell us about your team
They all are very experienced people. Vikas Gupta (formerly head of marketing of Coca-Cola India and chief marketing officer at ABP), Asheesh Gupta (formerly CEO, Hero Mindmine and vice-president, strategy, at ABP) and Anuradha Das Mathur (formerly with the Indian associate of the EIU and Businessworld), were the former executives at ABP. I have already worked with them in the past. We all complement each other in more than one way. They have considerable experience in media.
A media start up acquiring an already established media player. Who are the financial backers?
It is an absolutely self-funded transaction. The funds for the acquisition were borne internally. We haven’t received external capital in the business.
What was the acquisition price?
That is a confidential information.
Why Jasubhai and what is your further course of action with the new acquisition?
They had interesting properties and they were available for sale. We will leverage JDM infrastructure and experience to monetise niche content across media platforms and also events. We will build an integrated media play across many more verticals, which is the core focus and strategy positioning of 9.9 Insights, part of the 9.9 Media Group. We will make them grow, bigger and better. We will launch digital publications and do content development, including offshoring services. We will print magazines, organise conferences and expos.
Do we get to hear of any more acquisitions in near future?
Yes, very soon. We are currently looking at the print segment, to be precise.
Are you looking at the broadcasting space too apart from new media and print?
No, we don’t see foraying into television in the near future. That space is already overcrowded.
What is the nature of your partnership with Sao Paulo based Jai Group and NDTV Profit?
NDTV Profit is a preferred media partner for all the events that we do in India. Jai Group is a consulting group in Brazil, and both of us help each other in providing each other with businesses.