Uday Shankar takes 51% stake in James Murdoch's entity Lupa India

Uday Shankar, former chairman of Star India and president of Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific, has taken a 51 per cent stake in Lupa India, an investment entity set up by media mogul James Murdoch through his family office. The company’s key focus will be to invest in the media, education and healthcare sectors, according to sources. It is believed that Lupa has already set up a team of investment professionals, and many of them are former colleagues of Shankar.  Shankar, however, was not available for comment. In January this year Shankar and James Murdoch announc.....
Uday Shankar, former chairman of Star India and president of Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific, has taken a 51 per cent stake in Lupa India, an investment entity set up by media mogul James Murdoch through his family office.

The company’s key focus will be to invest in the media, education and healthcare sectors, according to sources. It is believed that Lupa has already set up a team of investment professionals, and many of them are former colleagues of Shankar. 

Shankar, however, was not available for comment.

In January this year Shankar and James Murdoch announced that they were teaming up for a new venture which would focus on media and technology opportunities in emerging markets. Those in the know say the focus would be on Indian as well as Asian markets.

James Murdoch set up Lupa Systems, a private investment company, after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Walt Disney in 2019. The company, which according to a filing, has invested in over 30 companies, including Indian firms such as VerSe Innovation (which runs Dailyhunt AND, Josh )as well as Harappa Education. 

While Lupa Systems bought a majority stake in Harappa Education, in February this year it led a $ 31million investment in Doubtnut, another edtech start up. In August, VerSe raised $450 million from investors. In May last year Lupa led a fund raise of $35.6 million for the company.  

Uday Shankar and Murdoch have also filed for the setting up of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in the US. The company, called Seven Islands Inc, has filed for a $300 million public offering. Both Shankar and Murdoch are co-chairmen of the company. According to the SEC filing, Seven Islands LLC is a subsidiary of Asia Initiatives Pte Ltd , a joint venture incorporated in Singapore between Lupa Systems and Uday Shankar.

Shankar, who joined Star in 2007, played a key role in its growth in India, especially by taking away the Indian Premier League’s broadcasting and digital rights from Sony TV. He also built Hotsar into a formidable OTT platform which now has over 100 million viewers. 

The media and entertainment space in India has been finding traction recently from investors. For instance, former Reliance Entertainment Group chief executive, Shibhashis Sarkar, has floated International Media Acquisition Corp, which has raised $200-230 million through an IPO. A new media-focused fund, India Media Entertainment Fund, which will be run by former partner of AION Capital Parth Gandhi, is also raising a Rs 500 crore fund in this diversified space.

The ed-tech space has also been a big focus for investors, which is reflected in the high valuations that companies like Byju’s, Eruditus and others have achieved, that too during the pandemic. 


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