Shekhar Kapur, the director of Oscar-nominated film Elizabeth, is in talks to raise a $500 million (Rs2,050 crore) fund in Singapore to invest in the entertainment industry, including movies and music across Asia. Investors in Singapore are more willing to bet on businesses that may take a longer period of time to make a profit, unlike hedge funds or private equity firms, the Indian director said in an interview.
“Singapore’s capital markets have the kind of maturity to sit for long-term investments,” he said. “Most of the hedge funds and private equity are like foam, little bubbles that form, take the money and off they go.” Kapur aims to capitalize on the rapid economic growth in Asia, home to 3.8 billion people, or 60% of the global population.
In India, the second-fastest growing major economy after China, he directed Bandit Queen in 1994, a film that got international attention when it was banned by the Indian government.
Start-up companies with innovative ideas and technology need time to nurture their businesses, said Andrew Craissati, a former investment banker and chief executive officer of US-based Transpac Media Ltd, which advises companies on listing on the London Stock Exchange’s alternative investment market.
Kapur plans to hire professionals to manage the fund, while he focuses on wooing global entertainment partners from the West. He expects to unveil his plan in the next three to six months.
In November 2005, Kapur joined UK billionaire Richard Branson, who owns Virgin Group Ltd, author Deepak Chopra and US-based Gotham Entertainment LLC to form Virgin Comics LLP, a media company that creates original stories and epic myths for a global audience.
He was in the city-state as part of an international advisory panel to the Media Development Authority, which is mapping out the country’s master plan for the media industry.
“The media industry in Asia is going through an explosive phase and what we are seeing is not even the tip of an iceberg,” Kapur said on 21 June. “The next YouTube and Google, the future technology, will originate from Asia.”
The global entertainment and media industry will expand at a 6.4% annual rate to $2 trillion in 2011, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC had said in a report last week. Asia Pacific will be the fastest-growing region, growing 13.5% a year, the report said.
The plan also reflects increasing difficulty for filmmakers in raising large sums of money from movie studios.
“Every director now realizes that they can’t rely on studio funding because studios are not interested in making films—they’re interested in distributing films,” Kapur said. “I and other directors would love to have funding so we can invest in films and explore unpredictable opportunities such as mobile space.” he added.