New Delhi: Germany’s Turtle Entertainment GmbH, which operates e-sports tournaments under the ESL brand, has invested Rs26 crore in Nazara Technologies Ltd in exchange for a 1.75% stake.

Turtle Entertainment owns over a dozen e-sports tournaments around the world, including ESL National Championship, ESL Pro League, ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters.

Under the deal, Nazara’s subsidiary NODWIN Gaming also gets a five-year exclusive licence to use the ESL brand for e-sports competitions in India and can also explore local versions of key ESL tournaments. With this, NODWIN also gets media distribution rights of ESL global content. “This part of Nazara’s e-sports foray," said chief executive officer Manish Agarwal.

Nazara, which is planning a public listing, has seen interest from various investors of late. In December, an affiliate of asset management firm India Infoline Finance Ltd bought shares worth Rs330 crore in the company. In the same month, ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala invested Rs180 crore in the company.

“We acquired e-sports execution company NODWIN and wanted (to partner with) a global giant to work with us so that we can learn from them in what they have done in developed market, we can do in emerging markets and in India," he said over the phone.

“We believe that Nazara, one of the leading mobile games companies will help us in expanding our ESL operations through strategic local partnerships," said Ralf Reichert, co-founder and CEO of ESL.

Nazara has recently made strategic investments in game companies Next Wave Multimedia, NODWIN Gaming and Hala Play.

Nazara, which filed its draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India on 1 February, proposes to sell 20.55% stake—19.21% by WestBridge Capital and about 1.33% by promoter group Mitter Infotech Ltd.

ICICI Securities and Edelweiss Financial Services are advising the company on the IPO.

Started by Nitish Mittersain in 1999, Nazara runs popular subscription-based games like Chhota Bheem, Star Cricket and Virat Cricket, among several others, and has audiences in India, Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Latin America.

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