UK-based Abercross acquires controlling stake in B4U for £20 million

MUMBAI: UK-based mid-cap investment firm Abercross Holdings has acquired a majority and controlling stake in leading Bollywood TV network B4U network for £20 million.

The investment firm led by former England cricketer Alex Loudon and Issam Hamid, former Chief Investment Officer for the Saudi Royal Family.

B4U network is jointly owned by LMB Holdings and Eros International in 76:24 ratio. LMB Holdings is controlled by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and London-based industrialist Gokul Binani.

Commenting on behalf of the largest shareholder in B4U, Swordfish Investments Managing Partner Amit Bhatia, who is also Mittal’s son-in-law, said, “We are proud of the growth of B4U as a major content platform for Indian entertainment. Indian entertainment has many fans all over the world and B4U has played an important role in driving the awareness and enjoyment of this great art form.

“Abercross has a vision to further grow the brand and cement its leadership position in this space. We wish them every success for the future and will follow the company’s progress with great interest.”

Abercross Holdings managing partner Issam Hamid commented, “B4U has developed into a fantastic brand with strong potential for growth and a proven management team. We are very pleased to welcome the company to our portfolio and are committed to growing the business and making it the foremost player in its space.”

B4U network is one of the world’s leading Indian TV networks with over 50 million daily viewers across over 100 countries in America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

B4U also owns and operates two channels in India, B4U Movies, and B4U Music, in addition to B4U Plus and B4U Aflam in the Middle East. The company also distributes Bollywood films overseas with a reach of over 54 countries.

The company is headquartered in London and has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Dubai and New York with over 150 full-time employees.

In 2014, B4U had set up a $100 million joint venture with US film and television production company Relativity Media. The JV after releasing a few overseas films fizzled out following Relativity’s bankruptcy.

Similarly, Eros also shelved its plan in 2013 to take full control of B4U by buying out LMB’s stake in the company for a cash and share consideration of $53.1 million (Rs 2.75 billion). However, the Kishore Lulla-promoted company shelved its plans to acquire LMB’s stake.

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