Indian music label giant Saregama acquires Pocket Aces

Saregama has acquired a 51.82% stake in the digital entertainment startup Pocket Aces as the oldest Indian music label makes a deeper push into videos.

Saregama is paying about $20 million for the 51.82% stake in Pocket Aces and plans to invest an additional $1.8 million into the startup, the Kolkata-headquartered firm disclosed in a stock exchange filing. The music label plans to expand its stake in the startup and has deferred the future pricing to completion of certain metrics, it said.

TechCrunch reported about the two companies engaging for a deal last week.

Pocket Aces produces short-form video content aimed at young Indians, creating over 30 new items each day. It has seen its popularity surge in recent years as its shows, typically comedic and dealing with real-world issues, have resonated with viewers.

The startup, which manages over 100 digital talent, has also licensed IPs like the show “Little Things” to Netflix and shared other content with platforms such as Jio, MX Player, Vistara and Qatar Airways.

Pocket Aces, which had raised about $20 million over the years and counts Peak XV and 3one4 Capital among its early investors, reaches 50 million viewers weekly and accumulates 700 million views monthly, according to stats it has disclosed on its website.

Saregama’s deal with Pocket Aces comes as the 120-year-old firm ramps up its efforts to broaden its video catalog. Saregama already produces over 300 video songs in a quarter and has expanded to several new categories, including the jukebox Carvaan business, in the past decade. In recent years, it has also invested in low-budget South Indian movies and TV series for on-demand video streaming platforms.

“Acquiring Pocket Aces will add on a whole new dimension of IP and a distribution network of over 95 million followers, which Saregama will leverage to further popularize its music library among the 18-35 audience segment. It will also create synergies across the artiste & influencer management and long-format video creation businesses of the two companies,” Saregama said in the stock exchange filing.

More to follow.