The Times of India: March, 2014
Mumbai: Dubai-based FidelisWorld , a sports investment fund focused on Asian markets , is striking two deals worth $33 million in India. The $200-million fund - floated by a former JP Morgan banker Anand Krishnan - is looking to invest $10 million in Smaaash Entertainment.
Smaaash is jointly owned by Shripal Morakhia, the founder of brokerage firm Sharekhan and investment bank SSKI, and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar. It offers augmented reality simulators to play cricket and race F1 cars, among other sports, in Mumbai.
Earlier this week, Fidelis-World closed a $23-million stake purchase in Technology Frontiers (Techfront), an instadia sports management firm involved with events like the English Premier League football event and F1 racing. The angel investors behind Techfront are exiting through the deal, which values the company at around $80 million. When contacted by TOI, Techfront promoter M S Muralidharan said in an emailed response, "We are progressing very well with Fidelis."
An email sent to Krishnan remained unanswered till the time of going to press. Morakhia said he would not be able to comment on the fund-raise at Smaaash. "This is market speculation. Right now, we are focused on growing the business and expanding to cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, besides others," he said.
Techfront clocked revenues of around Rs 185 crore and had an operating profit of Rs 45 crore in 2013. Private equity investor Avigo Capital, which holds significant minority interest, may not pare its shares. The Chennai based company provides digital display systems, interactive solutions, instadia lighting for sporting events and has partnerships with cricket administrators across the world, including the International Cricket Council (ICC). It holds instadia rights for EPL teams, including Swansea and QPR, deriving 65% of its overall turnover from its global business. It competes with global majors like Daktronics.