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Bertelsmann plans big splash in India
BS Corporate Bureau | February 18, 2004 10:01 IST
Bertelsmann AG, the world's third largest media conglomerate, is exploring various business opportunities in India, including investing in media companies, introducing television channels and expanding business process outsourcing operations.
The company's visiting chairman and chief executive Gunter Thielen said on Tuesday Bertelsmann saw India as a major business opportunity and would set up a wholly owned arm in the country soon.
The arm would spearhead the company's direct as well as joint venture operations in India, he added.
"India offers us great business possibilities. We are exploring investment opportunities here," said Thielen, who is on his first visit to the country.
He said the company was working out the details of investment in India, which would be finalised in the next few months.
"We have not decided on that," he said when asked whether the company's investment in India would match that in China. The company has invested about 900 million euros in China in the past 3-4 years.
Thielen, however, said Bertelsmann had not yet finalised the names of the companies it would invest in India.
Bertelsmann was keen on tying up with companies in the Indian animation industry, sources close to the development said.
Confirming that Betelsmann had made initial enquiries, Seema Ramanna, managing director of Crest Communications, told Business Standard: "We have had an introductory communication with Thielen. I believe the company is looking at investment opportunities in the entertainment and BPO industry in India." She, however, refused to divulge further details.
Bertelsmann, which employs about 80,000 people globally, also looks at outsourcing some of its internal processes to India.
"Using India for BPO is another area for us. Various companies are doing it," Thielen said, adding that the company had started a BPO venture with Bird Group about nine months ago.
Bertelsmann is also open to introducing its television channels in India. "We are in the content business. We are open to bringing our television channels here," he said.
According to sources, the company has initiated talks with various Indian business houses to explore possible joint venture opportunities.
Thielen, also met Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, also interacted with the media group of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.Thielen has a number of meetings lined up with CEOs of leading Indian animation houses in Mumbai.