MUMBAI: In a move designed to scale up its outreach in India’s fast growing retail entertainment space, Smaaash Entertainment, co-owned by Shripal Morakhia and Sachin Tendulkar has acquired 100 per cent stake in bluO entertainment, a premium bowling and entertainment format operated by PVR.
While financial details were not divulged, Economic Times reports that the purchase price was Rs860 million.
bluO is a joint venture between PVR and Major Cineplex Group of Thailand in which PVR owns 51 per cent stake with balance 49 per cent stake held by Major Group. The acquisition marks the doubling of the area under Smaaash management from 276,000 square feet to approximately around 600,000 square feet in India. The cash acquisition also adds six centers (approximately 210,000 sq. ft. of premium space) across five cities to Smaaash’s existing blueprint of seven centers in India and one in Minneapolis in the United States. The newly acquired centres will operate under SMAAASH branding and two more centers are expected to open shortly. Smaaash will introduce its signature games at all bluO centres, which only had bowling before.
Only this week, Smaaash announced the appointment of a new CEO, Tushar Dhingra, who it said would be responsible for contributing to Smaaash’s overall strategy and expansion plans with the core objective of pioneering technology development and raising profitability across its centres.
Smaaash Entertainment chief imagination officer Shripal Morakhia said, “The strategic acquisition of BluO is a significant step in doubling SMAAASH’s scale and outreach in India’s fast growing retail entertainment space. The synergies between both brands are deeply symbiotic in creating a network of centers in key cities that are designed as destinations with a relentless focus on wholesome sports, active life, and adventure for urban citizens. We are sure that bluO’s premium locations, infrastructure and F&B offerings, coupled with SMAAASH’s leadership in innovation with new technology and virtual reality, will fill a much-needed gap for experiential entertainment in our country."
PVR chairman and managing director Ajay Bijli said, “The sale of bluO is in line with our strategy to divest all non-core assets and focus on our core Cinema Exhibition business. It is also reflective of the value embedded in our core assets and demonstrates our commitment to increase shareholder value and provide management a more focused approach for enhancing value in exhibition business. We are pleased to sell the business to SMAAASH, which is a leader in retail and entertainment space in India and the US; and believe that they will take the business to even greater heights.”