Mumbai: Haresh Chawla, former group chief executive officer (CEO) of Network18 and Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, will join private equity (PE) firm India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA) as partner from 1 June.

In his new role, Chawla will be responsible for building and scaling up businesses owned by IVFA across sectors, including the media and entertainment investments at the PE firm, which has $1.3 billion under management. The Network18 group runs several television channels including CNBC-TV18, CNN-IBN and Colors.

A file photo of Haresh Chawla

“He (Chawla) blends professional management with entrepreneurial drive and the combination will be invaluable in helping IVFA scale up and further build its portfolio of businesses," Vishal Nevatia, managing partner, IVFA, said in a statement.

Chawla quit Network18 in November last year. Last year, Rajesh Kamat quit as CEO of Colors, the Hindi entertainment channel of Viacom18, to join CA Media, a fund headed by Peter Chernin, formerly CEO at News Corp.

The investment industry has been attracting talent with sector-specific knowledge. Late last year, Atul Kunwar joined Mumbai-based PE firm Ambit Pragma Ventures as operating partner after quitting Mahindra Satyam, where he was heading global sales. Kunwar, whose previous roles include being president at Mahindra Satyam, chief business officer at Tech Mahindra Ltd and chief executive at Aditya Birla Minacs, is mentoring and hand-holding Ambit Pragma’s portfolio companies.

“These appointments clearly indicate the high interest of the PE firm in that particular industry," said Jayanta Banerjee, managing partner, ASK Pravi Capital Advisors. He said there are two kinds of operational partners that PE firms hire—functional specialists like those in marketing and human resources, and domain experts, who are particularly sought by buyout and growth-stage firms.

Experts say competition is stiff among PE firms and they are increasingly looking at differentiating themselves beyond capital. One of the ways of doing this includes adding value in terms of hand-holding companies and management teams, getting them access to potential customers and assistance in handling hurdles associated with the day-to-day running of companies. For this, having partners with a track record of managing companies in the same space is seen as a big advantage.

“The trend of private equity firms adding operating partners to their team is a common practice globally and will increasingly see traction in the Indian market," said Vikram Hosangady, head of transaction services, KPMG India. “This will also be an important differentiator between PE funds, and given the challenging times, will be a significant enabler in adding value to the portfolio."

Shuchi Bansal in New Delhi contributed to this story.

deepti.c@livemint.com

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