Ananda Krishnan shuns public exposure and is known to maintain a low profile for a person of his stature.
He is wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation of India for money laundering. And was involved with financing the controversial 1MDB.
Ananda Krishnan was born in 1938 in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur's to Tamil parents, who were Sri Lankan origin. He studied at Vivekananda Tamil School in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur and furthered his studies at Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur. Later, as a Colombo Plan scholar, he attended the University of Melbourne, Australia for his B.A. (Honours) degree majoring in political science. During that time he boarded in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn. Following that, Krishnan obtained Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, graduating in 1964.
Krishnan has 2 daughters and 1 son who is also a Theravada Buddhist monk known as Ajahn Siripanyo.
Krishnan's first entrepreneurial venture was a Malaysian consultancy MAI Holdings Sdn Bhd. He set up Exoil Trading, which went on to purchase oil drilling concessions in various countries. Later, he moved into gambling (in Malaysia). In the early part of the 1990s, he started diversifying into the multimedia arena.
Currently, he has business interests in media (Astro, Johnston Press Plc), satellite (MEASAT, SES), oil and gas (Bumi Armada, Pexco), telecommunications (Maxis, Aircel, Axis, Sri Lanka Telecom). He owns stakes in Tanjong Public Limited Company, an investment holding company with subsidiaries involved in power generation (Powertek), gaming (Pan Malaysian Pools), leisure (Tropical Islands, TGV Cinemas) and property (67% Maxis Tower etc.).
He first came to prominence by helping to organise the Live Aid concert with Bob Geldof in the mid-1980s. In the early 1990s, he began building a multimedia empire that now includes two telecommunication companies – Maxis Communications, MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems and SES World Skies – and has three communication satellites circumnavigating the earth.
He effected the purchase of 46% of Maxis Communications, the country's largest cellular phone company, from British Telecom, AT&T Corporation, Orange S.A., Belgacom, Royal KPN N.V. and América Móvil for $1,180 million – raising his stake to 70%. Maxis has more than ten million subscribers, with around 40% market share in Malaysia. He also owns stakes in Aircel, Axis and Sri Lanka Telecom.
In an agreement between Astro and India's Sun Network, Ananda plans to produce TV channels which cater to the Indian market, especially Tamil people in countries such as US, CIS and Western Europe. Ananda also plans to offer TV services featuring Web-based interactivity. Ananda Krishnan owns stakes in TVB.com and the Shaw Brothers movie archives.