Tencent Now Owns One-Third of Indian Streaming Giant Gaana

Gaana India
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Gaana India
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Photo Credit: Gaana

Chinese conglomerate Tencent officially owns more than a third of Gaana, one of India’s most popular music streaming services.

Gaana higher-ups recently disclosed the ownership statistic as part of a broader announcement revealing that their company had successfully raised $50 million from investors. Tencent – which also participated in a separate, $115 million funding round in February of 2018 – fronted the lion’s share of the capital, about $40.84 million, thereby upping its total backing to some $183 million.

>Now, the >League of Legends >and WeChat owner possesses a 34.44 percent stake in Gaana, which boasts north of 185 million monthly active users (MAUs). Nearly five and a half percent of the streaming platform’s shares are reserved for employees’ stock options, while its developer, Times Internet, still holds an approximately 60 percent majority stake.(Times Internet is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Times Group, India’s largest media conglomerate.)

>Calculating based upon these figures, 10-year-old Gaana’s total valuation is quickly approaching $550 million – though as is the case with >other streaming giants>, this massive on-paper worth hasn’t been accompanied by commensurate profitability.

Tencent’s multimillion-dollar investment arrives about 10 days after TikTok competitor Triller inked a strategic partnership agreement with JioSaavn, another of India’s foremost music streaming services. Previously, reports suggested that Reliance Industries, JioSaavn’s parent and the single biggest company in the country, was brokering a deal to acquire TikTok following its late-June prohibition. While the TikTok acquisition isn’t outside the realm of possibility, the JioSaavn-Triller deal appears to suggest that the entity has opted to move in a different (and more easily accessible) direction.

>And in a further testament to the fast-growing nature of India’s music industry, entertainment sphere, and tech sector, Facebook >acquired a 9.99 percent interest> in Reliance Industries back in April.

>The Menlo Park, California-headquartered social media platform, which recently rolled out >licensed music videos> and >monetized Facebook Live events>, paid a whopping $5.7 billion for the ownership stake. Also, Instagram >launched a “Reels” competitor> in July, allowing India-based users to begin sharing short-form videos.

Earlier this year, we reported that Big Three record label Warner Music Group (WMG) had planted a flag in India, bringing on former Sony Music exec Jay Mehta to serve as managing director of its Mumbai division. And Apple Music, for its part, established a “Stream Local” initiative in India, featuring a number of local artists across various playlists.

In spite of the Gaana acquisition, Tencent shares dropped 4 percent during today’s trading hours, closing at $67.22 apiece.