The controversy over various business rights awarded for Indian Premier League (IPL)– an over $1 billion sports franchise of Indian T20 club cricket tournament– has stumped one of the existing investments of AIM-listed India-focused private equity firm Elephant Capital.
Elephant Capital had last year invested $10 million in Global Cricket Ventures (GCV). GCV in turn sub-licenses the IPL on-line and mobile broadcast rights from World Sports Group (WSG). However, the company’s key attractiveness has faded as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last June scrapped the agreements for global media rights with WSG.
GCV got exclusive licenses for digital and mobile rights to the Indian Premier League. It also acquired US-based Willow TV Inc, which runs a portal for live internet streaming of cricket matches.
This was done over an alleged improper facilitation fee of Rs 425 crore ($90 million) paid by broadcast firm by Multi-Screen Media (MSM) to WSG. The BCCI had earlier said it was not aware of any agreement for facilitation fee between MSM and WSG and had claimed that former IPL chief Lalit Modi had struck the deal independently without prior
knowledge of the board.
Incidentally, Mr Modi who is under attack from various quarters over irregularities in the operation of IPL, is the father-in-law of Gaurav Burman, one of the directors and key personnel behind Elephant Capital.
Elephant Capital has said in a statement that both its portfolio firm GCV and it has been trying to clarify the position of the rights. “GCV is also attempting to clarify with the BCCI its rights to design, build, host and manage the official CLT20 website. Elephant Capital is
in regular contact with GCV in order to fully understand what the repercussions of the current events could mean for the ongoing business interests of GCV, and will update shareholders as the situation regarding these issues becomes clearer,” Elephant Capital said in a disclosure.