15 companies including Nazara seeking to acquire gaming firm Smaaash’s services

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Smaaash Entertainment, a pioneer in the field of sports simulation technology, has attracted a lot of attention since undergoing insolvency proceedings. Nazara Technologies, Malpani Group, Manikchand Group, and Tech Connect Services are among the 15 companies in the fray for the acquisition of the services of the sport-centric digital entertainment company.

Among the interested companies, Nazara Technologies and the Malpani group are the two most prominent contenders. Nazara, backed by late billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Rare Enterprises, is India’s leading diversified gaming and sports media platform. Meanwhile, Malpani Group recently acquired Manmohan Shetty-owned theme park operator Adlabs Entertainment.

Smaaash launched its operations in 2012 and has 12 entertainment centers across ten cities, and three more centers are under development. The company generated a revenue of Rs 34.5 crore in the first quarter of this financial year, along with Rs 46 crore for the fiscal year 2022. Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for the first quarter ended June 30 was Rs 11.3 crore against Rs 14 crore for the last financial year.

The pandemic brought in turbulent times for the entertainment company as they suffered losses since it was closed down for 18 months. But the outlook of the company improved significantly in the past six months owing to a rise in footfalls in malls where most of its entertainment centers are located since the Covid restrictions have been uplifted.

Shripal Morakhia, who formerly owned stockbroking-cum-investment firm SSKI-Sharekhan and promoted Smaash, also submitted an expression of interest. Jindal Enterprises FZE, Capri Global, and iLabs India Special Situation Fund are also among other companies that submitted expressions of interest for the gaming company, backed by cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who received sweat equity of 4.2% when the company was launched.

Bhrugesh Amin, the resolution professional (RP), admitted Rs 426.26 crore of claims from Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company, Mabella Investment Advisors, Sidbi, and Yes Bank. The lenders are expectant that they will make an almost full recovery of their dues since the company’s revenue has improved considerably post the debarment of Covid-related restrictions.