The company's Asian subsidiaries will buy all the shares of Atul Phadnis' What's-ON for $27 million, subject to standard adjustments. What's-ON will continue to operate from Mumbai, where it is headquartered. Phadnis, founder and CEO of What's-ON, will remain with the company. Phadnis is also a former vice president of TAM Media Research (2002-2005)
According to Phadnis, it was important to find a company that "shares our vision for the business and understands the growth potential for TV data and services in Asia." This move expands Tribune's TV listings and video metadata footprint to more than 50 countries in 30+ languages, to reach over 600 million TV subscribers.
At the same time, Tribune's portfolio of entertainment technology and metadata capabilities will provide What's-ON with a foundation to grow its business and expand its services throughout the region.
What's-ON provides EPG data and TV search products for 16 countries, including India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka. Today, it delivers data for more than 1,600 TV channels and helps power more than 50 million set-top boxes through the region's top cable and IPTV services. Its clients include Star TV, Discovery Networks, Hathway Cable, Qatar Telecom, Samsung and Sony.
Peter Liguori, CEO of Tribune Company, says, "The acquisition of What's-ON fits with our broad strategy of diversifying revenue and scaling our metadata business to meet increasing client demands. I'm pleased that with What's-ON we will have a new presence in markets with significant opportunity."
India is the world's third largest TV market, after the U.S. and China, with an estimated 175 million homes and a growing base of digital cable subscribers, according to ABI Research. Edelweiss Capital has served as the Investment Bank for What's-ON. For the record, Tribune recently acquired Gracenote, a music and video technology and metadata company.