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Chernin firm acquires stake in Indian animation company

January 17, 2013|By Meg James
  • Graphic India specializes in animated mythological characters. CA Media acquired a minority stake in Graphic India on Thursday.
Graphic India specializes in animated mythological characters. CA Media… (Chernin Group )

Peter Chernin's investment arm, CA Media, is leaping into the business of super heroes and animated goddesses from India.

The company announced Thursday that it had acquired a minority stake in Graphic India, a year-old comic book and animation company that creates "mythological and superhero characters" for India's burgeoning youth market.

Graphic India was launched last year by India-based media entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman. It was a subsidiary of U.S. comic book company Liquid Comics, but now Graphic India will be jointly owned by Liquid Comics and the Chernin Group's CA Media.

Devarajan will become chief executive of Graphic India and remain executive chairman of Liquid Comics.

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CA Media said Liquid Comics will contribute "one of the world’s largest and highest-quality comic book libraries based on Indian characters" to Graphic India. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

CA Media was created to focus on investments in Asia. India, with more than 500 million consumers under the age of 25, represents a particularly lucrative vein to tap. Graphic India, according to CA Media, is well positioned to serve the Indian youth market with "multiplatform entertainment content that respects India’s creative traditions."

Graphic India intends to create animated short films and digital comics across a variety of mobile and online devices. The content will center on stories of mythological and superhero characters.

“We are very pleased that Graphic India marks our first investment in the digital space," Rajesh Kamat, chief executive of CA Media's India division, said in a prepared statement. "Graphic India is a valuable addition to this mix, especially in the youth segment. We look forward to working with the company to create heroes that inspire the next generation of Indian consumers.”

Graphic India already has partnered with POW! Entertainment and Stan Lee of Spider-Man, X-Men and Hulk fame to create a superhero for the Indian market called Chakra The Invincible. The story revolves around a Mumbai teenager Raju Rai, who develops a technology-heavy suit that activates the mystical chakras of the body, unleashing newfound abilities and powers.

CA Media said that Lee will continue to collaborate with Indian artists and creators. Graphic India also has plans to release digital content exploiting characters from Liquid Comics comic books including "Devi," which tells the story of an immortal goddess reincarnated as a young woman who uses her super-heroic powers to save her city from demons and monsters.

CA Media was co-founded by The Chernin Group and Paul Aiello in November 2010 to capitalize on the growth in media, particularly digital media, in Asia. Chernin was the longtime president and chief operating officer of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Aiello was formerly the chief of News Corp.’s Star TV Asia division.

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