Eros International has made a foray into Tamil films, the second largest segment in India, by acquiring a 51% interest in Ayngaran International, a dominant force in the Tamil content and distribution industry.

Eros announced today it will initially provide $33m in funding to take over and grow Ayngaran's existing business, which includes a library of over 600 films, and to produce, acquire and distribute a further 25 forthcoming Tamil films already in development.

The deal forms part of Eros' strategy to pursue partnerships and acquisitions in the fragmented Indian film industry.

Kishore Lulla, chairman and CEO of Eros International, said: 'We are really excited about this deal. Ayngaran is the Eros of Tamil films. The business is in the same stage as the Hindi film segment was 10 years ago, poised to expand rapidly.'

K KarunaMoorthy, chairman of Ayngaran, added: 'Aligning with Eros will allow us to accelerate our growth and become a global player in Tamil films by maintaining and building on our competitive advantage.'

Eros and Ayngaran previously co-operated on the international distribution of the film Sivaji-The Boss, starring Tamil film legend Rajnikant, which was released on June 15 this year. The film created history by grossing more than $25m worldwide; the highest ever for any Tamil film.