KKR forms over $300M Asian media investment platform with Chernin

Global buyout major KKR has formed an investment platform along with American media holding company The Chernin Group to invest in Asian media and entertainment ventures, the two firms said on Tuesday.

Christened Emerald Media, it will focus on providing growth capital ranging from $15 million to $75 million (Rs 100-500 crore) for both control and significant minority positions.

KKR has committed up to $300 million in the venture, from its KKR Asian Fund II. The PE firm had raised a record $6 billion for its second Asia fund two years ago. The Chernin Group will join as a minority co-investor in Emerald Media.

“The media, entertainment and digital media segment across Asia especially in India enjoys attractive macro fundamentals, mirroring the trajectory of the region’s consumer sector,” said Sanjay Nayar, member and CEO of KKR India.

With this, KKR has also acquired a minority stake in CA Media, the existing Asian media platform of The Chernin Group.

Emerald Media will be headed jointly by Rajesh Kamat and Paul Aiello, CA Media's group COO and CEO respectively.

Kamat said there is a significant opportunity to create a diversified portfolio of assets in the sector. "The media and entertainment sector is on the cusp of a strong growth phase—driven by media convergence, an attractive investment environment, and rising discretionary spends,” he said.

Kamat was formerly COO of Viacom18 Group and CEO of television channel Colors. Aiello was earlier the CEO of News Corp's Star TV Asia and former head of TMT investment banking at Morgan Stanley Asia.

The duo will continue to manage the CA Media platform, which includes assets in India (Endemol Shine India, Graphic India, Fluence, and Only Much Louder) and in Indonesia. However, a company spokesperson said CA Media would not be investing in media firms in the region separately.

Emerald Media will have offices in Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“This partnership provides TCG and its fellow investors in CA Media with a unique opportunity to continue to work with a best in class management team and leading global investors at KKR in Asia,” said Peter Chernin, chairman and CEO, The Chernin Group.

The Chernin Group is a privately held company founded by Peter Chernin and based in Los Angeles. It has built, managed, operated, and invested in businesses in the media, entertainment and technology sectors around the world since 2010.

Besides CA Media, its assets include Chernin Entertainment, which produces feature films and TV programmes; and Otter Media, an online video venture with AT&T that owns Crunchyroll and Fullscreen. It also has strategic investments in digital media companies including Pandora, Twitter, Medium, SoundCloud and Scopely.

TCG's other shareholders and strategic partners are Providence Equity Partners LLC, Qatar Holding LLC and 1Verge, which is the investment vehicle of Victor Koo, the founding CEO of Youku and Chengwei Capital. Providence independently invests in India.

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