After losing out to Sahara India in its bid to buy rights to new IPL franchise Pune, the Videocon Group, sources said, is now looking at joining the bandwagon by buying into Kings XI Punjab franchise.
Venugopal Dhoot, chairman of Videocon Group said on Thursday, “I lost out in the IPL bid last week in this very city. So I’m certainly open to picking up a stake in one of the existing teams.” When asked specifically about the Punjab team, Dhoot refused to confirm. However, he did not deny it either. “There are bound to be such rumours and of course, there are offers from various teams. But I have the Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to adhere to and cannot confirm anything at this stage.”
Dhoot’s VC Digital was in the running for the Pune franchise with a bid of $319.9 million in last Sunday’s auction, but lost out to Sahara’s hefty $370 million bid for Pune and Rendezvous Sports’ bid of $333.33 million for Kochi.
While agency reports quoted Mohit Burman, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, as saying that he might consider a sale if the bids were in excess of $250 million, the report also said that his team did not have any offers on hand and there were no buyers as of now.
Back in 2008, the Kings XI team had bid $76 million to win franchise rights over the Punjab team for a 10-year period. It is not known if Videocon is interested in buying partially into the team or the stakes held by all the shareholders.
The Kings XI team is currently co-owned by Ness Wadia of Bombay Dyeing, actor Preity Zinta, Mohit Burman of Dabur and Karan Paul of the Apeejay Surendera Group.
Dhoot is known to be a cricket lover. “I used to be the captain of the cricket team during my Fergusson College (Pune) days,” he said. “But I am also a businessman, so for me to enter into the IPL, I need to be in a deal that makes business sense.”
The IPL, now in its third edition, is currently in a frenzy. With revenue projections of the current edition put at more than $ one billion, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said, “There is no other sporting event across the world generating more eyeballs than the IPL.”