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Indian Film Company to float on AIM

Start-up shingle hopes to raise $110 million

LONDON — Startup shingle the Indian Film Co. (IFC) is set to raise £55 million ($110 million) by floating on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

New company will primarily invest coin in Bollywood films.

Hindi-language film market is worth a reputed $2 billion a year and growing at a rate of 16% thanks to improved revenue streams from DVD sales in addition to foreign box office and TV sales.

IFC is being backed with an initial $10 million stake by Network 18, the Indian media conglom that boasts partnerships with CNBC and CNN.

It will have a first-look deal with Network 18’s film arm, Studio 18, a production, marketing and distribution combo launched last June. Shingle also will retain the right to sell its films to Studio 18’s competitors.

Studio 18’s former CEO Sandeep Bhargava will head up IFC. Network 18 founder and majority shareholder Raghav Bahl has joined the board as non-executive director. Indian helmer Shyam Benegal is non-executive chairman.

Floating on the London stock market is becoming increasingly popular with Indian shingles. Bollywood distrib Eros Intl. raised $45 million when it listed in July. Indian media group UTV also is seeking a London listing for its film production business to raise coin for potential partnerships with U.S. studios Fox, Sony and Disney.

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