MDIF Announces Launch of Private Equity Impact Fund for Independent Media

Harlan Mandel, Chief Executive Officer, MDIF
Harlan Mandel, Chief Executive Officer, MDIF

The Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a mission-driven fund investing in independent news companies in countries where access to balanced news is under threat  has launched a private equity impact fund for independent media.

MDIF closed the Emerging Media Opportunity Fund I (EMOF) having invested approximately US$5m in five companies in India, Indonesia, Brazil and Peru that reach more than 11 million people. It raised USD12.95m from international investors including Stichting DOEN, Open Society Foundations (Soros Economic Development Fund), IFU (Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries) and co-investor JP Politiken Hus, in addition to MDIF.

The EMOF, which seeks to provide social and financial returns to investors by investing in media properties with significant growth potential, is built around the principles of high quality independent news and information. It is the first private equity fund to provide capital to independent media companies operating in restrictive environments.

EMOF financing is to enable companies to invest in the infrastructure and talent necessary to develop robust businesses, while maintaining a commitment to independent and quality journalism. It is meant to address the challenge of raising capital from politically compromised sources and which puts editorial independence at risk in many countries.

Mr. Harlan  Mandel, MDIF CEO noted: “The business challenges facing media are well known, but positive financial return opportunities exist in certain markets where democratization, economic uplift, and independent media form a virtuous circle of development, accountability and growth”.

MDIF is committed to ensuring that EMOF has real impact and has tied its profit participation to the social impact of investments. MDIF’s earnings through carried interest is 100% conditioned on meeting a range of mission-aligned indicators, including the level of media freedom in the country at the time of investment, the practical impact of investee news and information throughout the investment, and a mission-aligned exit. The fund has a target IRR of 10.5% for its investors.

A New York corporation with principal offices in New York and Prague, MDIF provides equity and debt financing to news and information companies in countries where access to independent media is under threat.

Media houses interested in accessing the fund should contact Peter Whitehead, MDIF Director of Communications,, Tel: +44 7793050670.