Investment firm run by former England cricketer buys £20m stake in Bollywood TV firm part-owned by Lakshmi Mittal

Jasper Jolly
Follow Jasper
The Merchants Of Bollywood - Photocall
Bollywood has a large following in the UK (Source: Getty)

A private equity firm led by a former England cricketer has bought a controlling stake in a Bollywood TV network jointly owned by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, City A.M. can reveal.

Abercross Holdings, led by Alex Loudon, paid more than £20m for B4U, City A.M. understands.

B4U’s channels include Bollywood films and music videos, with over 50m daily viewers in more than 100 countries from the UK to America and Asia.

While broadcast television in developed markets is coming under increased pressure from online offerings, high growth potential remains in many Asian markets as wealth increases at a rapid pace.

Read more: Lord Bilimoria on trade with India, immigration, and Brexit

The Indian broadcasting and cable TV market had total revenues of $9.2bn (£6.9bn) in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent between 2012 and 2016, according to research firm Marketline.

Bollywood entertainment also has an avid following in the UK, with around 5m viewers in total.

Abercross was started by Loudon, a former county cricketer for Kent Warwickshire as well as a one-day international for England, with three other partners including Andrew Woodhouse, Loudon’s former partner at brewing giant SABMiller, Issam Hamid, a former chief investment officer for the Saudi Royal Family, and Duygu Tanisik, formerly at Lightsource Renewable Energy.

Read more: The name’s bond ...retail bond as Bollywood’s Eros goes for cash

Abercross holds a minority stake in Typhoo Tea, and the management team has previously been involved in purchases of multiple brewers by SABMiller, including the Meantime Brewing Company, Kopparberg and Peroni.

Hamid said: “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”.

Read more: Why India beats Britain for women in tech

Related articles