James Murdoch and Uday Shankar, two well known names in the media world, have announced their latest venture, Bodhi Tree. And the announcement comes with a backing of $1.5 billion from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and one of the largest and most active sovereign wealth funds in the world.
Shankar and Murdoch recently worked at investment firm Lupa Systems, after latter’s departure as chief executive of 21st Century Fox. Shankar was earlier heading Star India, which later became a part of Disney in the $71.3Bn acquisition of Fox.
Bodhi Tree will be an investment platform that is designed to invest in media and consumer technology opportunities in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on India.
Shankar and Murdoch will be the co-chairs of Bodhi Tree. This will be beneficial for the venture as it will utilize the experience of both co-chairs. The younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch is the former CEO of 21st Century Fox and ex-chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia of News Corporation. On the other hand, Shankar has served as the CEO of Star India. He has also been the President of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific, and chairman of The Walt Disney Company India.
This also comes after Shankar is in talks with Reliance Industries to acquire a stake in Viacom18.
Both of them have recently worked at Lupa Systems, the three-year-old private investment firm, which is known to have made investments in media and edtech players in the country.
Through Bodhi Tree, Murdoch and Shankar plan to leverage technology to provide disruptive solutions. These solutions, in turn, will drive transformational outcomes in deep consumer engagement sectors, with a focus on media, healthcare, and education. These investments will be done to “positively impact millions of consumers across the region,” Bodhi Tree said in a statement.