He was said to have been a mediocre student, but Kalanithi Maran turned out to be anything but. The Indian media mogul is the chairman and Managing Director of Sun Group, and the owner of TV channels, newspapers, weekly magazines, radio stations, film production companies — you name media, and Maran likely owns it.
He even held multiple shares in the indian airline Spice Jet. It’s likely this ambition that made the media man worth over $2.5 billion.
Maran, despite the ‘mediocre student’ thing; was actively involved in politics, and showed some leadership skills and capacity when he was Chairperson of his Student’s Union. Then his ambition showed in his going to America to do his MBA in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
In 1990 he launched a monthly video (old school VHS) news magazine called Poomaalai657 which ran for only two years. But the year following Maran — he clearly does not accept defeat — founded Sun TV after obtaining a bank loan of $86,000, which appears now from the outset to be a cunning investment.
He then developed his business and held off listing Sun TV on the Bombay Stock Exchange until 2006, after raising $133 million netting 10% share. It was this move that saw a rich Maran go from millionaire to billionaire.
After he hit the billionaire status, his power seemed to significantly rise, and Maran would find himself in roundtable meetings with notable figures such as then President Bill Clinton.
In 2012 Maran was named the 17th richest Indian: worth $4 billion, and yet he was the highest paid businessman. Then he rightfully won Young Businessman awards from renowned financial firm Ernst & Young, while Forbes magazine labelled Maran the "Television king of southern India”.
But how did he become just so successful ad rich?
Well it no doubt helped a bunch that Maran is the son of a former Union Minister of commerce and also related to former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi. India is not a country that offers easy good fortune to those not born into relative success. Even Maran’s brother was a former minister.
With mega wealth often comes some controversy or another. And so government investigator Central Bureau of Investigation filed fraud charges against Maran and his brother over the takeover of Aircel, by Maxis Communications. It’s all quite messy and boring in the details, so we’ll spare you the technicalities.
Sun TV Network is said to have been ‘under a cloud’ since the federal home ministry withdrew the broadcaster's security clearance. His net worth has dipped over the past few years, occasionally spiked — but lets suppose that once your worth reaches the billions mark, you could more or less have what you like, and live a fairly high quality of live. Or lets go with very high quality.