Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), the corporate venturing unit of the Finland-based telecommunications conglomerate, has become a shareholder in India-based media conglomerate Network18, which runs its own corporate venturing unit, Capital18. The stake was acquired by NGP in return for its shares in Web18, Network18’s digital division. NGP invested in $10m of equity in Web18 in September 2009. In December last year, Network18 shareholders took the decision to merge Web18’s operations into those of Network18. With the completion of the merger, NGP’s shares were transferred to shares in Network18. Financial website the GMB Post has reported the stake acquired by NGP as being about 3.5% of Network18. Web18 acts as an umbrella company for Network18’s web properties. According to Network18’s figures for the last financial year, Web18’s revenues were up 16% year-on-year to Rs.85 crores ($19.3) meaning they broke even for the year. Network 18’s overall revenue was Rs.1,484 crores ($336.7m), garnering an operating profit of Rs.406 crores ($10.9m). Paul Asel, a managing partner at NGP, said: "Network18 is already one of Nokia’s preferred partners in India and NGP’s continued investment confirms our belief in the future growth potential of Network 18 and our commitment to India. We are excited about the digital opportunities in India. Network18’s market leading brands and digital properties spanning internet, television, mobile and print offer a compelling way to leverage this growth opportunity."

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