Home/ Companies / News/  GMR Sports in talks to buy gaming startup Fantasy Akhada

MUMBAI : Fantasy gaming startup Fantasy Akhada is in talks to sell a significant stake to GMR Sports, a GMR Group entity, at a valuation of $160-175 million ( 1,300-1,400 crore), four people aware of the development said.

The transaction is likely to be in tranches, with GMR likely to top up in the subsequent rounds, buying out some early backers, the people mentioned above added.

The gaming company endorsed by celebrity cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle will see some of its early backers, angel investors and others exit through this deal, one of the four people said. “It is a mix of primary and a small secondary share sale, and some early investors are likely to sell," the person said. “In subsequent rounds, the valuation will be doubled," he added.

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According to data from Tracxn, Fantasy Akhada, which is backed by investors including Prime Securities Team India Managers Ltd, has raised $15 million so far. The founders hold a 44.41% stake in the firm, while angel investors own 35.48%.

The firm will sell new shares of $50-60 million, the people cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

“The company is looking at realigning its cap table with longer-term investors being brought on board as gaming in India is expected to see manifold growth in the coming years," the second person said.

In an emailed query, the spokesperson for Fantasy Akhada said the details were inaccurate. An email sent to GMR Sports remained unanswered till press time.

Founded in 2020 by Amit Purohit, Amit Bhardwaj, Ankit Upreti, Pratik Gosar, Sumit Jha and Sahil Ahuja, the platform helps users to make their virtual teams of real professional sports players. Apart from cricket, the company also offers users fantasy gaming experience across football and kabaddi, among other sports.

The company’s rivals include Dream11, MPL, Halaplay, Crickplay and Zapak.

For GMR Sports that was incorporated in 2008 and houses the IPL franchise from New Delhi along with JSW Group; Uttar Pradesh franchise of the Pro Kabaddi league UP Yoddhas; and sports properties in the Middle East, entering fantasy gaming is a natural extension to its ambitions in the sports business, the third person said.

“The group entity will end up owning a significant stake. The discussions now are centred around valuations," the fourth person said.

According to a report by Marketdecipher, India has the world’s biggest fantasy sports market with over 130 million users and was valued at 34,600 crore in 2021, with an expected annual growth of 32% between 2022 and 2032.

The number of fantasy sports participants in India has climbed by eightfold in the past 10 years, while the number of fantasy sports users has increased by nearly 26 times.

India offers a diverse selection of sports entertainment, from fantasy cricket to fantasy kabaddi. Gross income earned by the fantasy sports sector in FY20 was 2,470 crore, while the market size was 920 crore in 2019. This suggests that during the covid-19 lockdown, the size increased threefold, the Marketdecipher report said.

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Updated: 05 Jan 2023, 10:47 AM IST
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