Secret Diary of an Entrepreneur / CEO-2018

"You have to withstand the pressure if you believe in something"

Secret Diary of Ronnie Screwvala — Part 3

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Published 3 years ago on Nov 03, 2018 11 minutes Read
Soumik Kar

Our broadcasting foray in 1998 incidentally happened when at a board meeting I expressed my plan of converting UTV into a B2C player. At that point, we had Dalip Pathak and Rajesh Khanna from Warburg Pincus on our board. Pathak said, “I just had breakfast with Vijay Mallya and he’s got this channel in the south called Vijay TV, a Tamil channel, and he wants to sell it. So, why don’t we go and meet him?” I remember arriving at 11 p.m. at his house, Mallya came in at 1 o’clock. Two hours, we were entertained and we had this conversation at 3 a.m., and we settled the deal. I didn’t understand the language but we understood the market since we were doing a lot of Tamil shows for Sun TV. Importantly, Mallya was willing to accept deferred payments over 36 months. For an entrepreneur at that stage, that really helped. The deferred payment meant I could get into the business the very next day and pay as I earned. So it was like buying a house on EMI. Vijay TV was the first business I bought.