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

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

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

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.

Sanjay Nayar, member and CEO of KKR India, said, "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. This is a fragmented industry, and we are excited to work with industry veterans to identify the next generation of media and entertainment companies we can partner with and support."

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

"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. With the building blocks for growth in place, there is a significant opportunity to create a diversified portfolio of assets in this space, building on our accomplishments and ongoing work with CA Media and The Chernin Group," said Rajesh Kamat,  Group COO of CA Media who was formerly COO of Viacom18 Group and CEO of Colors.

He will jointly head Emerald Media along with Paul Aiello, the current Group CEO of CA Media, the former CEO of News Corp's Star TV Asia, and former Head of TMT investment banking at Morgan Stanley Asia.

Kamat and Aiello 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, independent media holding company founded by Peter Chernin and based in Los Angeles, California. It has built, managed, operated, and invested in businesses in the media, entertainment, and technology sectors around the world since 2010. TCG's assets include Chernin Entertainment, which produces feature films and television programs; Otter Media, an online video venture with AT&T that owns Crunchyroll and Fullscreen; CA Media, which operates media and entertainment businesses across South and Southeast Asia; and a range of strategic investments in digital media companies including Pandora, Twitter, Medium, SoundCloud, and Scopely. Providence Equity Partners LLC, Qatar Holding LLC, and 1Verge (investment vehicle of Victor Koo, founding CEO of Youku and Chengwei Capital) are other shareholders and strategic partners of TCG. Providence independently invests in India.