MUMBAI: Sachin Tendulkar is selling his stake in Indian Super League football franchise Kerala Blasters. The holding is to be acquired by the Lulu Group controlled by Dubai-based businessman Yusuff Ali, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter told ET, in a deal valuing the franchise at about Rs 350 crore. That would mean an estimated return of nearly five times for the cricket legend on his four-year-old investment.
“I have decided to exit my association with Kerala Blasters as a copromoter. I strongly believe that Kerala Blasters is in very good shape and on its path to attain many more successes with the backing of its fans offering unconditional support,” the former Indian cricket team captain and highest run scorer of all time in international cricket told ET in a text response.
This story was first reported by Mumbai Mirror
DEAL WITH NIMMAGADDA PRASAD
Tendulkar is selling his stake of more than 20% to Andhra Pradesh-based industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, who in turn will sell the shares to the Lulu Group, said the people cited above.
“Sachin has already signed an agreement to sell his shares. Prasad is in the final stages of completing that transaction with Lulu Group, which will be made official very soon,” said one of them.
Tendulkar told ET that the Kerala Blasters had been an integral part of his life.
“My association with Kerala Blasters was driven with the intent to reignite the passion for the game and give the many fans and the abundant talent in Kerala a national platform to express themselves,” he said. “In its fifth year, it is important that the club puts the building blocks for the next five years and beyond. It is also a time for me to reflect on the role that I should play.”
According to industry sources, Tendulkar invested close to Rs 15 crore in addition to his brand value in Blasters and had a 20% stake as on March 2018. Tendulkar had acquired the Kochi-based franchise in April 2014 along with entrepreneur Prasad V Potluri.
In 2015, Potluri and his company PVP Ventures sold their stakes and Tendulkar became a 40% stakeholder in the franchise. A year later, Nimmagadda Prasad along with some heavyweights of the southern film industry bought into the company, acquiring some shares held by Tendulkar and Kerala-based financial services firm Muthoot Group.
Lulu Group and Nimmagadda Prasad did not return phone calls and text messages seeking comment on Sunday.
India’s leading industrialists and sports celebrities as well as Bollywood stars have invested in the Indian Super League’s eight franchises, expecting an IPL-type kind of gain in brand ownership, which may eventually translate into handsome returns on invested capital.
Sourav Ganguly, along with a group of Indian businessmen and Spanish football club Atletico Madrid, won the bid for the Kolkata franchise. Bollywood stars John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor and Salman Khan won the bid for the Guwahati, Mumbai, and Pune franchises respectively.
India’s sports sector is set to become a $10 billion industry in next five years, according to Star India managing director Sanjay Gupta. Sports is still at a 0.1% share of India’s GDP, while globally it’s about 0.5% of GDP, indicating a sharp upside, he added.