Satellite-based digital cinema network UFO Moviez India Ltd has committed an investment of Rs 200 crore to increase its holding in the four-year-old Mumbai-based start-up Scrabble Entertainment Pvt Ltd and also support Scrabble’s expansion plans. This comes soon after Providence Equity Partners invested Rs 260 crore in UFO Moviez, which is also backed by another private equity firm 3i.
Scrabble is into the business of converting existing movie theatres to 2K digital cinema platform.
“By acquiring majority stake in Scrabble, UFO Moviez has reiterated its commitment to ensure that the Indian film industry ecosystem benefits from the resulting cost-efficiency and increased reach of content by taking Hollywood content to cinema lovers across ‘Bharat’ and beyond its metros. We shall ensure that this Indian combine, started by first-generation entrepreneurs, now goes global,” Kapil Agarwal, joint managing director of UFO Moviez, commented on the investment.
UFO Moviez India has recently raised its holding from 26 per cent to 52 per cent in Scrabble Entertainment. Other investors in Scrabble include Sunil Patil and Ranjit Thakur (also the CEO), besides Walkwater Media Ltd., owned by film-maker Manmohan Shetty.
“We look forward to ensuring that more and more audiences across India can now enjoy high quality films on a digital platform,” said Ranjit Thakur, CEO of Scrabble Entertainment.
The UFO-Scrabble combine will now increase the number of DCI-compliant cinemas from 300 (that Scrabble has presently installed in around 30 major cities since its inception in 2007) to 800 (single screens, as well as multiplexes) within six months, the statement adds.
Scrabble expects to install around 2,000 screens internationally in the next two years, out of which deals for over 600 screens have already been finalised for the Middle East countries.
Scrabble has already signed virtual print fee deals with Hollywood studios and is now ready to go global in 10 countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus and Bulgaria). It is also looking to expand its footprints in Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico).