Big B refutes report on interest in IPL team

Amitabh Bachchan

MUMBAI: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has denied that his family was interested in picking equity stake in any of the franchises of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

“This news is incorrect,” Bachchan told IANS when asked about media reports on the issue.

Earlier, there were reports that the Bachchans had approached the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals with proposals to buy stakes in the franchises.

While the talks with three-time champions CSK were reportedly unsuccessful, discussions with the Royals did not progress beyond the first round.

Interestingly, the Bachchan family already has stakes in Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Chennaiyin FC and Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) franchise Jaipur Pink Panthers.

Last week, PTI had reported that the owners of the IPL franchise were looking forward to selling half of their stakes in the team and Bachchans’ reported interest lends further heft to the news. 

The newswire had reported that a bid would be held which is likely to prominently feature Sanjeev Goenka, the former owner of Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS). Goenka had bought the rights for the franchise during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, when the Royals along with the Chennai Super Kings, were banned for their alleged involvement in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. He is also the principal stakeholder of Indian Super League (ISL) team ATK.

According to the report, another big industrialist based out of western India with multiple business interests is also in the mix.

Presently, the Bachchan family is associated with Indian Super League and Pro Kabaddi league. They have their share in ISL franchise Chennaiyin FC while Abhishek Bachchan is the owner of PKL franchise Jaipur Pink Panthers. 

The stake sale, if it goes through, is expected to proceed on similar lines to what GMR Group worked out last year when the infrastructure major sold a 50% stake in GMR Sports, under which Delhi Daredevils was owned and operated, to JSW Sports for Rs 5.5 billion at an enterprise valuation of Rs 11 billion. 

Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited, the holding company under which Rajasthan Royals operates, currently has three stakeholders - Manoj Badale (Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd), Suresh Chellaram family (Tresco International Ltd) and media baron Rupert Murdoch's eldest son Lachlan Murdoch (Blue Water Estate Ltd). 

The Royals previously also listed businessman Raj Kundra (married to Hindi film actress Shilpa Shetty) as a co-owner but he was forced to sell his stake and disassociate from the franchise after being indicted for his involvement in betting activities during the 2013 spot fixing scandal.

What the current shareholding is in Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited has not been revealed but what is known is that when Kundra had a stake in the holding company (through Kuki Investments Ltd), the stake split was: 
Tresco International Ltd (44.2%) 
Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd (32.4%) 
Blue Water Estate Ltd (11.7%) 
Kuki Investments Ltd (11.7%)

While there was speculation at the time of Kuki Investments' divestment of stake on the exact nature of the share transfer, reports had said that Kundra's stake was distributed among the three existing owners and not to a new buyer. 

Assuming that the stake distribution was as per the holding that origically existed (when Kundra was on board), the current shareholding should (emphasis ours) be:  
Tresco International Ltd (50.06%) 
Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd (36.69%) 
Blue Water Estate Ltd (13.25%)

Coming to possible price, the stake offload of Delhi Daredevils (now called Delhi Capitals after JSW bought in to the franchise) at Rs 11 billion means that RR would more than likely be south of that valuation, as per SportzPower's reckoning.

Related Report
Bachchan family exploring taking stake in RR: Report