ATK FC, a football club owned and operated by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, has acquired a majority stake in iconic Kolkata sporting enterprise Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Pvt. Ltd.
As per the deal, the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group will acquire 80% stake in Mohun Bagan and the remaining 20% will be held by the Kolkata-based football club. The two clubs will merge under a new identity and compete in the Indian Super League (ISL), a professional league.
Swapan Sadhan Bose, chairman at Mohun Bagan, said RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group’s vision for Indian football closely aligned with the club. “To usher into the new era of football, you need bigger investments and a corporate force to take it forward. This is undoubtedly a harsh and the bigger truth,” he said.
The merged firm will begin operations in the beginning of June, and will also compete in this year’s edition of the ISL, known as the Hero Indian Super League.
Sanjiv Goenka purchased Spanish professional football club Atletico Madrid’s stake in ATK between 2017 and 2018, according to reports. Atletico had held a 25% stake in the company behind the club – Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd.
Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, is a 130-year old club and was accorded the title of National Club of India by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989.
The majority acquisition by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group represents the latest move in the professional football segment in the country. In November last year, City Football Group (CFG), the London-based holding company for several football clubs, acquired a majority stake in Mumbai City FC (MCFC), whose shareholders include actor Ranbir Kapoor and chartered accountant Bimal Parekh.
CFG – established in 2013 – is 77% controlled by Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), an investment vehicle that is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, an Emirati royal who is the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
Other ISL-related moves include cable television distribution company Den Networks agreeing to sell its 55% stake in Den Sports – which indirectly owned Indian Super League team Delhi Dynamos – to Wall Street Investments Ltd (WSIL) for Rs 43.32 crore in April 2016. In November that year, it sold another 25% in the club to WSIL.