Harry Sloan, Jeff Sagansky Complete $273 Million Deal for Indian Pay-TV Service

Veteran Hollywood executives Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky have closed a deal for Indian pay-TV service provider Videocon d2h to complete its initial listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

The listing was completed through a transaction with Sloan and Sagansky’s Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp., under which Silver Eagle contributed $273.3 million to Videocon d2h in exchange for 38.4% of the pay-TV provider — represented by 37.75 million American Depositary Shares distributed to Silver Eagle’s stockholders.

Public trading of those Videocon d2h shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol VDTH began at the opening of trading Wednesday at the price of $12 a share, giving that stake a $453 million value.

The funds are part of the monies raised in 2013 in an initial public offering by Sloan and Sagansky through their Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company.

It’s the first initial public offering of an Indian media company that trades solely in the U.S. public markets, and the first company from India to list initially in U.S. markets.

Silver Eagle noted that Videocon d2h has led the industry in new subscriber growth for the last four years.

“Investor interest has been strong as now they can participate in a market where there is tremendous growth projected in the pay-TV and DTH sector,” Sloan said. “Videocon d2h is the fastest growing pay-TV operator and India is the fastest-growing pay TV market in the world. Beyond this very significant growth we will be exploring numerous possibilities for the company to expand as a force in India’s media business.”

Mumbai-based Videocon d2h distributes over 500 digital channels and other video and audio services to subscribers via direct satellite feeds.  It began operations in July 2009 and has since grown to a gross subscriber base of 13 million and a 20% market share.

Sloan and Sagansky announced in January that they were investing at least $303.7 million to acquire 33.5% of Videcon d2h.

Sloan is the former CEO of MGM Studios and during his tenure there, he operated the MGM channel in India. He was also the founder, chairman and CEO of SBS Broadcasting, which had Europe’s second-largest broadcast footprint.

Sagansky, while co-president of Sony Pictures Entertainment, was responsible for the expansion of Sony Channels, including Sony channels in India and the AXN channels in Asia. Both Sloan and Sagansky will join the board of directors of Videocon d2h.

“Until now, most of the investments in India media have focused on content,” Sagansky said. “But the powerful Videocon d2h platform can participate in sector growth in multiple ways including subscriber growth, advertising and channel creation.”

Sloan and Sagansky unveiled Global Eagle Acquisition in 2011 and that entity moved into inflight entertainment in 2012 by acquiring two companies — U.S.-based broadband service Row 44 and Germany-based content supplier Advanced Inflight Alliance — in a transaction valued at $430 million.

Sloan served as chairman and CEO of MGM between 205 and 2009 prior to the completion of its restructuring via a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Sagansky worked for three decades in show business, including serving as president of CBS Entertainment between 1990 and 1994 and as CEO of Paxson Communications between 1998 and 2003.

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