Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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CVC’s Ahmedabad bid augurs well for BCCI and the IPL | Cricket News

MUMBAI: A private equity and investment advisory firm with market commitments in excess of US$110 billion across Europe and Asian equity, credit and growth funds, CVC Capital is one of the biggest global players in the sports industry. Their arrival in the Indian Premier League (IPL) can only be a shot in the arm for the BCCI and the overall cricket industry.
In August this year, Spain’s top football league La Liga agreed, in principle, to sell 10% of its commercial business to CVC Capital for around US$3b. In the run-up to this La Liga deal, the private equity player had almost reached a settlement for a similar deal with Italy’s Serie A in the league’s media rights business.

With over 25 offices globally, and with over 23 years in investment track records in sport, one of the world’s leading private equity investors’ arrival into the IPL puts the Indian T20 league in global spotlight and is a huge shot in the arm for the Indian cricket administration.
In 2006, and in one of the riskiest sports investments ever, CVC Capital had offered a boggling US$2b (15 years ago) to buy Formula One. It was a time when a number of racing teams were entangled in pay disputes and at a time when F1 founder Bernie Ecclestone dominated the league.
By the time they exited 11 years later, Formula One turned into one of CVC’s most profitable investments and is estimated to have made close to US$4.5b on its initial US$1b stake, marking a 450% return.
“They’ve been phenomenal the way they’ve gone about with their sports businesses. This is a huge shot in the arm for the IPL and league has well and truly arrived on a global stage now,” says BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal.
CVC has invested in Moto GP from 1998 to 2006, the Premiership Rugby from 2019 to present, the United Rugby Championship from 2020 to present, the Six Nations from 2021 onwards and the Volleyball Worlds from 2021 onwards and has always talked itself up from a long-term growth perspective.
This is not the first time CVC has eyed an IPL franchise. Some years ago, the PE firm was in discussions, first with Rajasthan Royals and then with Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), for a buyout – deals that did not work out.
The company, based out of Mumbai, has been eyeing investments in India’s fast-growing sports industry for a while now and those tracking developments say, “they were gearing up for something like this”.
The IPL is the pie in India’s sporting landscape that everyone wants a piece of. “However, the thing is – most investments have been either family owned or backed by individuals who have their own unique brand value. The third kind have been consortiums that have blown hot and cold. An investment like this one (from CVC) is a first of its kind. Yes, Rajasthan Royals recently did a deal with US-based investors Redbird Capital. But nothing comes close to this,” say sources tracking this space.
The BCCI, that was desperate to showcase that IPL is indeed on the verge of moving on to the next level, need a shot in the arm and the industry at large has no qualms admitting “it is this one indeed”.

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