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9X Media to launch Bengali & south music channel in rejig plan
MUMBAI: 9X Media (formerly known as INX Media) is planning to launch a clutch of regional music channels even as private equity firm New Silk Route aims at taking equity control of the company.

The restructuring will involve New Silk Route upping its stake from 20 per cent to 80 per cent while senior employees and former Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd Pradeep Guha will be given equity.

"As part of the plan, Guha, who is currently a consultant, will have an operational role in the company after the FIPB gives clearance to the investments from New Silk Route. He will have stake," a source familiar with the development said.

Guha could not be reached for his comments. 9X Media chief financial officer Bhupendra Makhi declined to comment.

New Silk Route has proposed to infuse fresh capital of Rs 550 million that will provide initial investment
for the company's expansion plans.

"The existing shareholders will not make further investments and will get diluted. New Silk Route will be buying out the existing shareholders," a source added.

The investors in 9X include Dunearn Investments, New Vernon Private Equity, Kotak’s India growth fund and Kotak Mahindra Capital.

9X will first launch a Bengali music channel, the source said. The company also plans to launch a multi-lingual south music channel.

"9X has applied for licences to many channels. The Bengali music channel will happen after 9X gets approval from the government. The company has sufficient money to fund the channel from internal accruals. The other music channels will, however, take place only after the shareholding in 9X is restructured," the source said.

9X is preparing to file a fresh application for FIPB approval to make an amendment in foreign collaboration. The company's earlier proposal was rejected.

9X runs a popular Bollywood music channel, 9XM. "The annual cost for running 9XM is around $4 million," the source said.


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