Home >Companies >RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group may acquire a media company

New Delhi: The RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group is in talks to acquire a media company, chairman Sanjiv Goenka said in New Delhi on Monday.

Goenka, who also owns the Indian Premier League (IPL) Pune franchise, declined to name who he is talking to.

The group currently publishes Open, a weekly current affairs and features magazine, through its media venture Open Media Network Pvt. Ltd.

“I would definitely like to be present in different formats but not at crazy prices or at steep valuations," he said at the sidelines of the launch of the jersey of his IPL team Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG). Goenka added he was keen to grow the media business but has been waiting for the “right opportunity" and is in talks with other interested parties.

The group also plans to expand its sports portfolio by starting a football academy in Kolkata and investing in a football club overseas.

“We will expand clearly. I don’t have a time frame but it will be more sports for sure. I’m enjoying my tryst with sports with both ISL (Indian Super League) and IPL. In ISL, we are not yet making profits, but I can see the path to profitability. It won’t happen in the next couple of years, but it will happen," said Goenka. ISL is a football league modelled on the lines of the popular T20 cricket league IPL.

The private football league with eight franchises is owned by IMG Reliance—a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd and IMG, a global sports, fashion and media business—and Rupert Murdoch’s Star India Pvt. Ltd.

In December, the company bid for and won the new Pune cricket franchise with a negative bid of 16 crore as part of the reverse bidding process. For a sum of 12.5 crore, it bid for India’s limited overs captain M.S. Dhoni as its team captain.

Talking specifically about football, Goenka who is the co-owner of team Atlético de Kolkata, part of the India Super League, said, “We could be buying a football club overseas. That’s a possibility. It’s something that we are looking at," he said. “In football, the immediate thing is to go ahead and build an academy. We will get into grassroots in football. We have our own land. In Kolkata, we need one approval from the state government to get it through. The chief minister says it will come. As soon as the approval comes, we will start work on the academy," said Goenka.

The group, which spent 60 crore on players in the recent IPL auction, hopes sport will become an important part of the group’s revenue.

On the sponsorship front, the company is close to signing its first sponsor. It is also looking at the company’s in-house brands to sponsor the Pune team.

“One of the deals will get closed very soon. Spencers (the modern trade retail brand of the group which has 122 stores across India) is currently negotiating with Rising Pune Supergiants," he said.

Goenka said that there’s bound to be a difference in sponsorship rates between an old and a new team, “but we do have star power with three captains—Dhoni, Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis," he added.

Within the next two years, the company’s focus is to win as many matches in the IPL as possible even though it will end up with losses on its balance sheet.

“Year one is a clearly a loss. Let’s see how year two goes. It depends on how sponsorship goes. Whether we make it to the play-offs or not. But I think at the end of the day, there will be an outgo cumulatively," he said.

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