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The other Maran

Kalanithi Maran's ambitions have taken wing. The Chairman and Managing Director of Sun TV Network breezed into the aviation business recently, acquiring a 37.75 per cent stake in low-cost carrier SpiceJet for about Rs 750 crore, in his personal capacity.

T.V. Mahalingam | Print Edition: July 11, 2010

Kalanithi Maran's ambitions have taken wing. The Chairman and Managing Director of Sun TV Network breezed into the aviation business recently, acquiring a 37.75 per cent stake in low-cost carrier SpiceJet for about Rs 750 crore, in his personal capacity.

The SpiceJet buy is a milestone for Maran, 45, who has so far limited his business empire to the media and entertainment space. Maran's Sun TV group stakes its claim as India's largest media conglomerate with 20 TV channels, 45 FM radio stations, two daily newspapers, four magazines, a direct-to-home satellite TV service, and a movies production and distribution business.

Hailing from the first family of Tamil Nadu, politics could have been the easiest choice for Kalanithi Maran. His grand-uncle, M. Karunanidhi, is the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. His father, the late Murasoli Maran, was a Member of Parliament for 36 years and a Union Minister in three separate governments. His brother, Dayanidhi, is the Union Minister for Textiles. But, after an MBA from the United States, this Maran chose the media business over a career in politics.

In fact, late last year, the quiet Kalanithi was in the news for being the country's highest-paid executive, taking in a tidy Rs 37.08 crore—ahead of the likes of Mukesh Ambani. His wife Kaveri, as Joint Managing Director of Sun Network, was paid another Rs 37 crore. With that kind of money, and the DMK's political muscle, Kalanithi Maran's ambitions may soar even higher.

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