S Chand buys majority stake in publishing house Chhaya Prakashani
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Education-focused publishing house S Chand & Company Pvt. Ltd has picked up a majority stake in Kolkata-based publisher Chhaya Prakashani Pvt. Ltd in its third takeover deal.

VCCircle had first reported in September that S Chand was in advanced talks to acquire Chhaya Prakashani, which offers a gamut of books for up to 12th standard(K-12), college and engineering, career and children, for Rs 220 crore.

On Thursday, The Times of India cited S Chand managing director Himanshu Gupta and vice chairman Dinesh Kumar Jhunjhunwala as saying that the company had acquired a majority stake in Chhaya. In a separate report, The Economic Times cited unnamed privy to the development as saying that the deal was inked at a total enterprise value of Rs 220 crore.

S Chand and Chhaya Prakashani did not respond to emails seeking comment till the time of filing this article.

This is the third acquisition deal for S Chand, which is backed by Everstone Capital and International Finance Corp (IFC). S Chand had acquired Delhi-based publishers New Saraswati House in 2014 and Vikas Publishing House in 2012.

Besides these acquisitions, S Chand has made a few investments in the online education segment. In March, it invested in, an online test preparation platform for competitive exams,  and ed-tech startup FlipClass.

S Chand, which is reportedly exploring an initial public offering, had been scouting for another acquisition for the past two years. In an earlier interaction with VCCircle, the firm had said it was looking for acquisitions in the print publishing domain to expand its bandwidth and top line.

Mint reported in June that the firm had hired bankers for an IPO that would help it finance inorganic growth and allow its investors Everstone and IFC to partially exit.

The publishing house had last year raised nearly Rs 179 crore ($27 million then) from IFC, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, and Everstone Capital.

S Chand group, which was founded in 1939 by Shyam Lal Gupta, is now owned and managed by Himanshu Gupta and Dinesh Kumar Jhunjhnuwala and their families.

The group has offices in 26 cities across India with printing facilities at Rudrapur in Uttarakhand and Sahibabad in Uttar Pradesh. The firm holds a dominant position in the school book category with 7,500 titles and works with over 1,000 authors.

A recent survey by market research agency Nielsen revealed that India’s book publishing market is the sixth-largest in the world at Rs 26,100 crore, and is likely to touch Rs 73,900 crore by 2020. 

Chhaya Prakashani

Chhaya Prakashani, which started operating in 1976, claims to be the largest publisher in terms of reach in eastern India. The company, led by Sumit Biswas, boasts of nearly 200 authors writing for the publishing house. 

The firm almost doubled its revenue in financial year 2014-15 to Rs 70.5 crore from Rs 38.3 crore the year before. Its net profit surged almost three times to Rs 11.2 crore during the same period. The firm is yet to file its financials for the year ended 31 March 2016 with the Registrar of Companies. 

Late last year, the promoters had merged two other group firms with Chhaya in what is believed to be part of a consolidation exercise ahead of the proposed deal.

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