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Tycoons pad up for two new IPL teams

cricket Updated: Feb 04, 2010 10:06 IST
Gaurav Choudhury
Gaurav Choudhury
Hindustan Times
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A string of cash-rich business barons, including those behind the Hero Honda, Sahara and the Poonawala groups, are

In the fray
* Pawan Munjal, Hero Honda managing director is interested in owning an IPL team in his personal capacity.
* Subroto Roy’s Sahara Group is also keen on owning an IPL team but did not specify which city its team would be based in.
* The Poonawala group is also open to bidding as part of a consortium.
poised to vie for two new Indian Premier League cricket teams up for grabs next month, a sign that the snappier version of the game is getting bigger and more lucrative.

The eight-team league will be expanded with the addition of two new franchises in the Fourth Season in 2011. Bid documents will be opened at the end of this month or early in March, IPL sources said.

Industry sources close to the development said Pawan Mun-jal, part of the family than runs Hero Honda, is keen on owning a team based at Dharamashala in Himachal Pradesh, while ADAG — the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group — is keen on picking up an Ahmedabad team.

Trade sources said the Subro-to Roy’s Sahara Group is also keen on owning an IPL team, while racehorse owner and vaccine tycoon Cyrus Poonawala is also looking for a buy.

“I may not be interested in buying a team entirely on my own but would be open to bidding as part of a consortium,” Adar Poonawala, executive dire-ctor of the Poonawala group’s Serum Institute, told HT.

“We have not yet decided,” a Sahara Group spokesman told HT, indirectly confirming an interest.

Pawan Munjal, Hero Honda managing director did not res-pond to HT’s queries. However, company sources who did not wish to be identified, said Munjal was interested in owning an IPL team in his “personal capacity,” though a high reserve price could be a deterrent.

The minimum base price for the two new teams have been set at $225 million (about Rs 1,000 crore), which is more than double of $112 million (about Rs 500 crore) — the amount Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited paid to own the highest priced — Mumbai Indians team.

The reserve price for the fourth season is nearly five times that of 2007 when the minimum price was fixed at $50 million (about Rs 230 crore).

Rajesh Sawhney, president of Reliance Entertainment, the showbiz arm of ADAG, refused to comment when contacted.

Prospective bidders said they would wait to examine the bid conditions.

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