Balaji Telefilms legal head Som Bathla

Television czarina Ekta Kapoor-promoted Balaji Telefilms Ltd has hired Som Bathla from Star India Pvt. Ltd to lead the company’s legal operations, a person familiar with the development said.

Bathla will advise on legal strategy, mergers and acquisitions, labour laws, foreign exchange laws and contracts, among other things, the person said, asking not to be named.

“The company is aiming to strengthen its legal department following its plans to expand in other verticals of entertainment,” he added.

Star India is part of Rupert Murdoch-led media firm 21st Century Fox Inc. It was a shareholder in Balaji for nearly a decade but sold the stake in 2015.

Email queries to Mumbai-listed Balaji Telefilms, Star TV and Bathla remained unanswered till the time of filing this article. However, Balaji chief financial officer Sanjay Dwivedi confirmed the news.

Bathla is an alumnus of Delhi University’s Faculty of Law and is a company secretary. He started his career with KLG Systel Ltd as legal manager in 2003. He worked with Cannon India Pvt Ltd before moving to law firm Luthra & Luthra Law Office as a senior associate. In 2010, he joined food company ADM India Pvt Ltd as general manager and company secretary before moving to Star TV, where he was vice president-corporate legal.

Bathla is the second senior-level executive hired by Balaji recently. In January last year, the company appointed Ekalavya Bhattacharya as the chief strategy officer of its over-the-top video service unit ALT Digital Media Entertainment Ltd.

The television and movie production house had last year decided to raise Rs 150 crore by issuing preference shares to global investors for the launch and expansion of its digital media unit.

The media industry has seen a few other changes at senior positions. Recently, Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd–the publisher of The Times of India and The Economic Timeshired independent legal consultant Soumit Mohapatra to head its legal and compliance operations.

*The headline of this article has been modified to correct an inadvertent error.

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