Kochi strikes deal to stay in the game

Kochi strikes deal to stay in the game
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First Published: Thu, Oct 21 2010. 12 22 AM IST
New Delhi / Mumbai: The Kochi franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has survived for the moment with its shareholders arriving at a settlement hours before the deadline set by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was to expire.
But there is, as yet, no clarity on whether the BCCI finds the response satisfactory.
Under the terms of the settlement, the equity structure of the franchise, also known as Rendezvous Sports World, has been recast, although its shareholders refused to specify details.
Confirming the development to Mint, BCCI’s chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said, “The Kochi team has sent a response to the BCCI president (Shashank Manohar) and he is studying it. BCCI will respond in time.”
The governing council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) issued a show-cause notice to the Kochi franchise on 10 October, asking shareholders to stop squabbling over the equity structure and reach a settlement by 20 October or face expulsion. The same meeting had ejected Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab from the league for alleged violations of the contract signed with the BCCI.
The six existing investors in the Kochi franchise are Rendezvous Sports World Pvt. Ltd (26%; 25% is sweat equity), Anchor Group (27%), Parinee Developers (26%), Filmwaves (12%), Anand Shyam (8%) and Vivek Venugopal (1%).
Five of the investors were locked in a dispute with Rendezvous Sports and were demanding its replacement as leader of the consortium and diluting its holding to 10%.
A Mint story on Tuesday quoted one of the five investors, who didn’t want to be named, as saying that unless the existing shareholding pattern that put Rendezvous Sports at the helm was revised, the remaining investors who are actually bringing in the money would not form a joint venture. They are willing to give up their investments, the investor said.
The Kochi franchise was one of the two new ones inducted into IPL earlier this year (the other is the Pune franchise, which is owned by the Sahara Group).
The association of Sunanda Pushkar, then girlfriend (and now the wife) of former junior external affairs minister Shashi Tharoor, with Rendezvous precipitated his exit from the government.
It also marked the beginning of an investigation into malfeasance in the league, eventually resulting in the suspension of IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
appu.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Thu, Oct 21 2010. 12 22 AM IST