James Murdoch and Uday Shankar form Bodhi Tree with $1.5 billion investment in QIA

Uday Shankar and James Murdoch joint ventureLupa Systems, has formed a new investment platform, Bodhi Tree, backed by a $1.5 billion (about 11,200 crore) investment from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) sovereign wealth fund.

Shankar and Murdoch will serve as co-chairmen of the newly created media company.

The duo said in a joint statement that the new venture will invest in media and consumer technology opportunities in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on India.

The investment came at a time when Shankar, a former chairman and star of Walt Disney Asia Pacific and chairman of Disney India, was already in talks with Reliance Industries (RIL) to take a significant minority stake in RIL-controlled Viacom18.

Murdoch and Shankar in the statement said, “We are very pleased to announce Bodhi Tree. Opportunities abound to develop exciting businesses in India and the wider Southeast Asia region. Our continued focus on Investing and building relationships in these regions comes from our deep belief in the long-term growth of these economies and the incredible power of their consumers as these sectors are transformed by technology.”

QIA CEO Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud said, “QIA is proud to play a key role in the realization of Bodhi Tree. QIA invests in the technology and media space, and India is a key market for us. QIA looks forward to supporting Bodhi Tree as they move forward with their growth plans in the future.”

QIA, founded in 2005, is one of the largest and most active sovereign wealth funds in the world.

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