vccircle

News Corp has acquired specialty media business VCCircle for an undisclosed amount, the company has announced. VCCircle two online news publications – VCCircle.com and Techcircle.in – and monetizes largely through events such as conferences and training workshops. They also have a subscription based data platform called VCCEdge. The company, Mosaic Media Ventures, has 100 employees (12 in editorial team, 13 in sales), and is headquartered in Noida. The deal is expected to close in March 2015. Sahad PV, founder and CEO of the company, will join News Corp as a part of its India team, and report to Raju Narisetti, SVP (Strategy) at News Corp, who, from what we gather, led the deal.

For the year ended 31st March 2014, the company reported a loss after tax of around Rs 94.91 lakhs, up from a loss of Rs 51.36 lakhs in FY13. The company reported current assets of Rs 3,11,68,348 for FY14. We couldn’t find topline numbers for FY14, FY13 and FY12 (no P&L appears to have been submitted to the RoC), but in FY11, the company reported revenues of Rs 3.82 crore, and a profit of Rs 17.75 lakh. This was before it began its subscriptions business. VCCEdge was launched in 2009.

According to filings with the Registrar of Companies, Mosaic Media Ventures had raised Rs 1.48 crore in FY12 from 9 investors, including Gulu Mirchandani, Gopal Srinivasan, Shantanu Surpure, Arun Duggal, Suresh Shanmugham, Ashit Ranjit Lilani, Suresh Raju, Siddharth Mehta, and Essay Commercial Services (which put in Rs 50 lakh). VCCircle had allocated shares to its ESOP pool in earlier this year.

This is News Corp’s third recent deal in India, after it picked up 25% in PropTiger for $30 million, a month ago. In December, News Corp acquired BigDecisions.com, a Mumbai based startup that appears to generate leads for financial services companies, and provide consumers with educational information and calculation tools for making financial decisions.

News Corp’s other operations in India include Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Factiva and HarperCollins Publishers businesses. 21st Century Fox,which was hived off when News Corp split last year, owns Star TV.

Our Take

Like we’d written last year, when we reasoned why Network18 founder Raghav Bahl should buy VCCircle, the company is a good fit for any business media house, and there are clear synergies with News Corp:

– Similar domain: VCCircle doesn’t cover the stock markets, and focuses on areas of interest to institutional investors, and venture capital and PE funds, and there’s a fit with the Wall Street Journal in India which is also an online publication in India.
– Multiple revenue streams: VCCircle has a subscription model (as does the Wall Street Journal), the paid database business in VCCEdge (built on the lines of CapitalIQ), a company search service BizCircle, an events business doing over 10 conferences a year, and a training business. VCCircle has around 100 institutional clients. Over the past seven years, it has held some 100 conferences, hosting over 15,000 delegates and 1,500 speakers.

The opportunity for VCCircle is in two things: in finding more buyers for its VCCEdge platform, and expanding its editorial mandate to covering the stock markets: news ends up being a commodity business, and scale is all that matters.

Disclosures:

– When it comes to tech news and tech related events, VCCircle and Techcircle may compete with MediaNama.
– I worked with Sahad PV, founder of VCCircle, for a few months at ContentSutra, before he switched to running VCCircle full time in 2007.