Elephant Capital Plc, an AIM listed private equity fund, has led a £4 million (around Rs 27.4 crore) round in Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd (ACK), a Mumbai-based children’s book company. Elephant Capital has put in £3.2 million (about Rs 22 crore) in ACK, while its co-investment vehicle will put another £0.5 million (about Rs 3.43 crore). Gaurav Burman, managing partner of Elephant Capital LLP, will also invest another £0.3 million (abreportedthe firm’s fund raising plan through private equity in May last week. The investment follows ACK’s recent acquisition of Indian Book House (IBH).
Following this, Elephant Capital gets two directors to the ACK board, which currently has six directors. Gaurav Burman and Amit Jain will represent Elephant in Amar Chitra Katha, said a company statement.
The company plans to utilise the fund in expanding the content for TV, film, home video, merchandise and school programmes. ACK has creative studios in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai that develop new content for multiple platforms. Some of its animated series of Amar Chitra Katha and Karadi Tales were recently launched on Cartoon Network India and Disney Channel India respectively. Two other animated films are also in the pipeline.
Gaurav Burman, Managing Partner of Elephant Capital LLP, said, in the statement, “We believe there is a huge amount of value in ACK and look forward to working with the team to fully realise the potential the business holds. I believe this will be a very successful investment for Elephant Capital and is exactly the type of transaction that we set up the fund to do.”
ACK’s portfolio comprises over 500 print and 100 digital products. Some of its publications, including nursery rhymes and mythological stories, are incorporated in school syllabi across India, US, Canada and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The edutainment sector in India has developed dramatically in recent years, thanks to country’s vast teen-age population. Around 40% of the total population in India are in sub-18 years category, adds the statement. “As the size and spending power of India’s middle classes increases, we believe that ACK will be extremely well positioned in the market in the children’s entertainment and media sector,” Burman added.
ACK was launched in 2007 by Shripal Morakhia, and is known for its Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle brands and proprietary characters like Suppandi. The company is also looking at entering into multiple joint ventures in the Indian media space, and is in talks for deals with a few European media houses in the areas of the content/characters and brands.
Scholastic Corporation, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media, is one such firm which also has presence in India.
Elephant Capital makes private and public equity investments in India. It made six investments so far across hospitality, automotive, education, building materials, mobile banking services and online media and broadcasting.