Shibasish Sarkar’s SPAC International Media Acquisition Corp Buys Reliance Entertainment Studios And Risee Entertainment In $140M Deal

International Media Acquisition Corp (IMAQ), the acquisitions vehicle Indian media mogul Shibasish Sarkar launched last year, is acquiring Risee Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment Studios.

The deal for the two companies will total $102M in cash and $38M in investment, and will reunite former Reliance Entertainment CEO Sarkar with several former colleagues he left behind when he set up the SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisitions Company).

IMAQ launched on the Nasdaq last year, with the backing of several high profile Indian entertainment figures and media companies. 

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According to an SEC filing made earlier this month, IMAQ has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the combined Risee and Reliance Studios company.

The cash will funnel in over four tranches worth a combined $102M, with another $38M coming from equity capital infusions.

Sarkar will become CEO of the company that emerges from the deal, with a board of five directors, three nominated by IMAQ and two from the combined Risee and/or Reliance Studios.

SPACs are effectively companies that raise capital solely to buy existing companies and are seen as an alternative to a traditional IPO.

IMAQ raised $230M in its initial Nasdaq offering and Sarkar subsequently told Deadline he wanted the business to be “the largest content creation company in India,” working across film and TV production, animation and exhibition. He also hoped to take a “meaningful position” in a streamer. 

Questioned in December if IMAQ would acquire Reliance’s film and TV business, Sarkar had responded: “It’s not fair to comment. It’s a listed company,” but added: “Every kind of opportunity available will be explored.”

Reliance is one of India’s biggest film, TV and animation firms. Recent theatrical releases include Vikram Vedha and Code Name Tiranga, whiles most notable TV shows include the popular Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Kaun Banega Crorepati, India’s Got Talent and Bose: Dead/Alive. Risee Entertainment is a privately held company that launched in 2018 in Mumbai.

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