Mumbai: Globosport India Pvt. Ltd, a sports marketing and celebrity management company founded by tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi, is close to acquiring a majority or full stake in ICE Model Management, a Mumbai-based company promoted by actor Upen Patel, according to people familiar with the matter.
ICE supplies models for ramp shows, television commercials, print ads and music videos. The company is affiliated with modelling agencies in France, the UK, Germany, Croatia, Brazil, South Africa, and other countries.
When contacted, Anirban Das Blah, chief executive of Globosport, said: “We are exploring options in the fashion and lifestyle sectors, and we have an interest in ICE.”
Blah said that no agreement has been signed as yet with ICE. There was no comment from him on whether Globosport is acquiring a part or full ownership in ICE, but people familiar with the matter said the modelling agency is already in the process of being bought by Globosport.
Upen Patel was in London and could not be reached for comment.
Mandy Fernandes, the manager at ICE, said if the deal goes through, Globosport would be acquiring a stake and not the entire company.
Globosport provides brand consulting, celebrity as well as event management and sports marketing services, and its annual billings are in the region of Rs200-250 crore, according to industry estimates. The privately held firm manages actors Esha Deol, Dia Mirza, Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor, and represents tennis player Sania Mirza and cricketer Zaheer Khan; and, according to its website, has diversified into film and television production.
“Globosport may be a sports marketing company, but it’s still into celebrity management. A modelling agency should help it expand more in the area of celebrity management,” said an expert from the model management industry who did not wish to be named.
Atul Kasbekar, who owns modelling agency Bling Entertainment Solutions, said the industry is barely five-six years old. As a business, very few modelling management agencies are profitable, he added.
Navin Shah, chief executive of Percept Ltd‘s P9 Integrated, agreed that there is little money to be made in the model management business. “It’s quite unlike celebrity management which, as an industry, exceeds Rs1,000 crore in India. Model management as an organized industry would barely be in the region of Rs50 crore.”