Bengaluru, July 2: Steel-to-power conglomerate JSW Group is in advanced talks with global drinks giant Diageo Plc to acquire the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for an amount that can go upto Rs 300 crore.
"Yes, we are in negotiation with Diageo to acquire RCB for Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore," the Sajjan Jindal-owned company sources yesterday (July 1) told PTI here.
The RCB franchise, which is now eight IPL seasons old, is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Spirits Limited (USL), in which Diageo has a majority stake.
Talks have been going on for a long time but the deal couldn't come through because of the public spat between Diageo and former promoter Vijay Mallya over alleged diversion to Kingfisher and their UB Group entities.
The spat came to light when a full-blow boardroom battle broke out after USL said it had "lost confidence" in Mallya after an internal probe and a forensic inquiry by PWC revealed alleged fund diversion to Kingfisher and other UB group entities.
RCB is one of the most attractive teams in IPL despite not winning the title. RCB, which was bought by Mallya for USD 111.6 million in 2008, the second most expensive team after Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai Indians then, have star-studded players in the form of AB De Villiers, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.
Parth Jindal, who is CEO of Bengaluru Football Club, had shown interest in entering the cash-rich IPL business earlier this year. Asked about the reason for entering IPL despite major controversies around the tournament, including the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, company sources attributed it to its popularity.
If the deal is struck, RCB will be the second team after Deccan Chargers, to undergo change in ownership. The BCCI terminated Deccan Chargers for failing to give Rs 100 crore Bank Guarantee to the Board as directed by the Bombay High Court.
Thereafter, Sunrisers Hyderabad replaced the Deccan Chargers in 2013. Sun TV Network had bagged the franchise after the previous owner, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, failed to meet the deadline to raise the bank guarantee. RCB has made two final appearances in IPL, in 2009 and 2011.
The team had also finished runners-up in the 2011 Champions League T20. In the last IPL earlier this year, RCB finished third.