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IPL – RR – Redbird acquires 15 percent stake in Rajasthan Royals

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Existing majority owner Emerging Media increase their stake from 51% to 65%

Private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners, which has interests in the parent company of Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox, has picked up a 15 percent stake in Rajasthan Royals for an undisclosed amount.

The Royals, winners of the inaugural IPL in 2008, are majority owned by London-based venture capitalist Manoj Badale’s investment firm Emerging Media.

Emerging Media and RedBird, which is founded by former Goldman Sachs Partner Gerry Cardinale, announced the stake acquisition in a joint statement on Thursday, but did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

“The IPL is a dynamic league with a global audience and forward thinking mindset regarding fan and player engagement,” Cardinale said in the statement.

A source close to the deal placed an enterprise value of the franchise at between USD 250 million to USD 300 million.

Badale said the Redbird deal was an illustration of how popular the IPL had become.

“Such an investment is testament to the global standing of the IPL and India as an attractive investment destination,” Badale said.

The television and digital rights for the tournament went for INR 163.48 billion (approx USD 2.2 billion) to STAR Sports for a five-year period from 2018-2022.

The eight-team IPL normally takes place during April and May, although the Covid-19 pandemic has forced an alteration in schedules for IPL 2020 and IPL 2021.It also hit the IPL’s finances, and according to financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps, the IPL’s brand value shrunk by 3.6 percent to USD 6.19 billion last year because of the pandemic.

The Royals brand value dipped by over 8 percent in 2020, to INR 2.49 billion.

Emerging Media also said in the statement it had separately increased its stake in the franchise, going from 51 percent to 65 percent.

RedBird also recently picked up a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group, who own English soccer team Liverpool, and baseball’s Red Sox, the XFL, and they are also the majority owner of French football team Toulouse.

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