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Media and entertainment company UTV Software Communications Ltd. is betting big on gaming. It plans to invest a total of $75 million into the gaming business. While informing the Bombay Stock Exchange, UTV said that it will acquire a 51 per cent stake in a US-based top tier mobile content aggregator through it’s subsidiary, Indiagames Ltd.
UTV also plans to invest in a US-based startup catering to the online gaming segment. The names of the targets are not disclosed. When contacted, Vishal Gondal, CEO of Indiagames, declined to comment. The price of acquisition of these two companies will be $30 million, UTV Chairman and CEO Ronnie Screwvala was reported as saying by Indiantelevision. These deals are to be finalised in the next 3-4 months.
Besides this, UTV also plans to increase its stake in it’s subsidiary, Ignition Entertainment Ltd, from the current 70 per cent to around 95 per cent, for $8 million. It had acquired 70 per cent stake in 2006 for $13.3 million i the UK based gaming company. UTV also plans to pump $37 million into the working capital of Ignition for its three high-end console games being developed at its facilities in London, Florida and Tokyo, to be released in the next couple of years.
The acquisition of US-based mobile content aggregator company, to be done through Indiagames, will be funded by UTV subscribing fresh shares of Indiagames. UTV had acquired 55 per cent stake in Indiagames for $9 million in 2006, which could go upto 70 per cent. Recently the board of UTV Software approved the acquisition of United New Media Ventures, which is involved in web and mobile based digital content aggregation, creation and distribution.
Earlier this year UTV Software had diluted 37 per cent stake to Walt Disney Company for Rs 805 crore ($200 million), at a price of Rs 860 per share. In another transaction, Walt Disney had also picked up 15 per cent stake in UTV Global Broadcasting Ltd., the broadcast arm of UTV Software, for Rs 119 crore ($30 million). The company also plans to invest $10 million in its business news channel, UTVi, a decision which awaiting FIPB nod. UTV Software also plans to release 12 movies this year. In the past one year, it has launched quite a few television channels which in UTVMovies, World Movies, Bindaas and UTVi.