India: Sachin Tendulkar-backed Smaaash raises $43.7m

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar-backed sports-based entertainment company Smaaash Entertainment Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs280 crore (approximately $44 million) through debt and equity as the company looks to expand business, said two people aware of the development.

Smaaash owns and operates sports-centric digital entertainment centres for games such as cricket, football, go-karting, bowling and a host of virtual games in cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Bengaluru.

Smaaash was started by Shripal Morakhia in 2012 with its first centre of over 40,000 sq. ft in Mumbai. Morakhia is also founder of brokerage firm Sharekhan.

“The company has raised Rs280 crore through a mix of debt and equity in a new round of fund-raise.

ECL Finance, the non-banking finance company of Edelweiss Group, has invested Rs258 crore through debt, while the promoters of the company have invested Rs22 crore through equity in this round,” said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity as the talks are private.

Funds will primarily be used for overseas expansion of the business and for acquisitions, he added.

“On the international side, Smaaash has been looking to set up centres in the US and in the Middle East. They already have one centre in the US. They have been looking at cities such as Dubai and Jeddah in the Middle East,” he said.

A spokesperson for Smaaash declined to comment on the development. ECL Finance, too, declined to comment.

This is not the first round of institutional fund-raising for Smaaash. In 2014, it raised Rs65 crore from sports-focused investment firm FidelisWorld, which invested through its first fund FW Sports Investment Fund LP.

In August 2016, Mint reported that the company had raised Rs150 crore from Piramal Enterprises Ltd’s Structured Financing Group.

Smaaash reported a revenue of Rs58.41 crore in 2015-16, compared with Rs44.6 crore in the previous year, according to data from the registrar of companies. The company reported a loss of Rs24.7 crore in 2015-16, as against a loss of Rs18.2 crore the previous year, data shows.

On the domestic front Smaaash has recently focused its energies on growing its business the inorganic way.

Last month, it announced that it is buying bowling joint venture bluO entertainment from PVR Ltd, India’s biggest movie exhibitor, and Major Cineplex Group, for Rs86 crore in an all-cash deal.

The area under Smaaash management in India will increase to approximately 600,000 sq. ft from 276,000 sq. ft after the transaction is completed, the company said in a statement. The newly acquired centres will operate under Smaaash branding and two more centres are expected to open shortly, the statement said.

Earlier this week, the company announced the acquisition of 100% stake in SVM Bowling and Gaming. The acquisition will add 13 centres to Smaaash’s blueprint in India, across Hyderabad, Mysore, Madurai, Vijayawada, Mangalore and Pune, the company said in a statement.

With the SVM acquisition, Smaaash will have a presence across 13 cities in India through 26 centres, besides the one centre in the Mall of America—the largest mall in the US.

This article was first published on LiveMint.com