15 companies in scramble to buy gaming company SMAAASH

Nazara Technologies, Malpani Group, Manikchand Group and Tech Connect Services are among 15 companies vying to acquire Smaaash Entertainment, a sports-centric digital entertainment company undergoing insolvency proceedings, said two people familiar with the development.

Nazara Technologies, which is backed by late billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Rare Enterprises, and the Malpani Group which recently acquired the Manmohan Shetty-owned theme park operator

are the two main candidates.

Jindal Enterprises FZE, Capri Global and iLabs India Special Situation Fund are among other companies that have expressed interest, the sources said.

Smaaash is promoted by Shripal Morakhia, who previously owned brokerage and investment firm SSKI-Sharekhan. The gaming company is also backed by cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who received a 4.2% stake when the company launched.

Morakhia also submitted an expression of interest on the grounds that the amendment to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in mid-2018 allows promoters to bid for struggling small and medium-sized businesses.

Resolution (PR) professional Bhrugesh Amin, backed by BDO India, has set September 8 as the deadline for binding offers.

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Nazara Technologies, Malpani Group, Manikchand Group and the RP did not respond to ET’s request for comment.

The RP admitted Rs 426.26 crore of claims from

Asset Reconstruction Company, Mabella Investment Advisors, Sidbi and .

Lenders expect near-full dues recovery as business revenue has improved following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions, the people quoted above said.

The business suffered losses since it was closed for 18 months. But the outlook has improved over the past six months due to an increase in footfall at malls where most of its entertainment centers are located.

It generated Rs 34.5 crore in revenue in the first quarter of this financial year compared to Rs 46 crore for the financial year 2022. Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) for the first quarter ended June 30 was Rs 11.3 crore compared to Rs 14 crore for the last financial year.

Smaaash, which launched operations in 2012, has 12 entertainment centers in ten cities and three more centers are under development. The total area of ​​its existing centers is 1,50,000 square feet.

Smaaash Leisure, a wholly-owned subsidiary, is an added attraction, the people said. It operates bowling alleys across India and has a business valuation of around Rs 100 crore with debt of Rs 45 crore from Yes Bank, one said.

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