Home / Companies / People /  Reliance Entertainment group CEO Shibasish Sarkar to step down

NEW DELHI: Shibasish Sarkar, group chief executive officer at Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment, will step down from his role, aiming to raise $200 million for a new media and entertainment venture called International Media Acquisition Corp over the next few months, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that has been reviewed by Mint.

The new firm will look at acquiring media and entertainment companies that offer interesting opportunities in the film, television, OTT (over-the-top) streaming, radio, music and podcast, animation and gaming space across North America, Europe and Asia. It will target entities with an enterprise value of between $150 million and $500 million.

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The company has made an initial public offering of its securities. Each unit that it is offering has a price of $10.00 and consists of one share of common stock and one redeemable warrant.

Sarkar declined to comment on the story.

“The covid-19 global pandemic will impact the M&E industry differently within various segments. Our management expects that there will be some strong businesses that may end up in special situations and may need capital and expertise to grow their business," the SEC filing says.

Subject to specific clearances and market conditions in the US, Sarkar who would serve as CEO and chairman of the new company, will step down from Reliance Entertainment.

As stated in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm has been sponsored by Content Creation Media LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, an entity affiliated to Sarkar.

Apart from Sarkar, members of the company’s board of directors include Sanjay Wadhwa, former managing partner of south Indian film production and distribution company AP International Group, Vishwas Joshi (serving as chief financial officer), former executive director and head of studio finance at Walt Disney Co. who had worked at Sahara One Media and Entertainment, Capital Foods, Tata Oil Mills, CEAT and Batliboi ,and Suresh Ramamurthi, chairman of CBW Bank.

To be sure, Mint had earlier reported that the parent Ambani group had ceased funding the entertainment vertical which Sarkar has headed for about two years now, and that Reliance Entertainment had been working largely independently by managing loans and syndications including selling satellite and digital rights for older films and animation adaptations for franchises such as Singham and Golmaal. While some titles such as Simmba and Super 30 had set cash registers ringing, cash flows had been affected during the lockdown.

The company is currently looking forward to the release of big-ticket Bollywood films such as Sooryavanshi and ’83 that were deferred because of the coronavirus outbreak last year.

“There is a group ecosystem and there is a Reliance Entertainment ecosystem. Of course, we work within the overall group parameters but at the end of the day, we virtually operate like an independent business house and run the show ourselves," Sarkar had said in an earlier interview.

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