Business Today

Maa TV's Nimmagadda Prasad hits the jackpot again

Prasad and the other promoters of Maa TV, a leading Telugu channel, have sold their stake to STAR India in a deal reportedly valued at Rs 2,500 crore.

twitter-logo E Kumar Sharma        Last Updated: February 12, 2015  | 17:39 IST
Maa TV's Nimmagadda Prasad hits the jackpot again
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Nimmagadda Prasad had hit headlines in 2007 when he sold Matrix Laboratories to Mylan Inc of the US in a $736-million deal, one of the largest deals in the Indian pharmaceuticals industry then. He has now done a repeat, albeit on a larger scale and in another sector - media.

Prasad and the other promoters of Maa TV, a leading Telugu channel, have sold their stake to STAR India in a deal reportedly valued at Rs 2,500 crore. Prasad would not confirm the figure to Business Today, but he does call it one of the largest deals in Indian media.

If the deal size is indeed Rs 2,500 crore, then given that Prasad owns 65 per cent of the company, it would mean his investment is valued at over Rs 1,600 crore.

That is fairly significant for an entrepreneur who has so far invested around Rs 60 crore in the venture. It would be a good three times the value he got for his investment in Matrix for his 12.1 per cent stake sale for Rs 500 crore.

Prasad, who has also been Chairman of Maa Television Network, is not alone. Maa is owned 20 per cent by leading Telugu actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi and family while 10 per cent is held by another leading actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and family. The remaining 5 per cent of the company is held by Maa employees.

Prasad began his entrepreneurial journey by acquiring Herren Drugs, a loss-making bulk drugs company in 2000. He changed its name to Matrix Laboratories and made it into a profit-making entity with revenues of around Rs 1,700 crore that proved to be an attractive asset for Mylan.

In the case of Maa, he says, the company has grown from less than 100 employees to around 500 people today with revenues in the last seven years up from almost nil to Rs 350 crore.

This deal is happening at a time when Prasad is under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He is embroiled in the alleged disproportionate assets case against Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, President of YSR Congress.

Prasad is alleged to have got huge chunks of land and other incentives in a quid pro quo deal during the regime of the chief ministership of Y S Rajashekhara Reddy. Prasad would not comment on this matter since the matter is sub-judice.

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