Friday, March 7, 2008

The PE Pitch : A Different Ball Game

PE investors, long known for their nimble profit seeking minds, have found yet another opportunity.
The Cricket Pitch.
Chennai Super Kings, the team owned by India Cements (ICL), has been approached by private equity investors. Admitted N Srinivasan, vice chairman and MD, India Cements: "A few private equity investors met me. They were interested in knowing if I would be willing to dilute my stake in the team's equity."
However N Srinivasan is banking on GBP 9 Bn. Manchester United valuation, with much smaller soccer audience compared to cricket, for a better deal.
According to I-Banking sources other IPL franchisee too may be willing to offload minority stake. The other names doing rounds include Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad), Vijay Mallya (Bangalore), Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta (Mohali) and Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment (Kolkata).
According to UTI Venture CEO K E C Rajakumar, Opportunistic PE Investors, Cricket win momentum, 4+ years of time to prove the concept and lower valuations in the nascent stage all point to this being a good deal now.
PE investors insist their interest in the cricket business is based on sound logic. Said one of them, "Let's get it straight. Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya, GMR are businessmen who are not given to doing stupid things. Also, keep in mind that Anil Ambani and K V Kamath (of ICICI Bank) also wanted to enter this business."

Read it all on ToI

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