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Star India acquires 74% stake in Pro Kabaddi owner Mashal Sports

MUMBAI: Star India has acquired 74 per cent stake in Mashal Sports, which is co-promoted by Anand Mahindra and owns the successful Pro Kabaddi League. The value of the deal is not known.

Star, which is the official broadcaster of the league, will now have control over the entire league as a majority owner of Mashal Sports.

This is the second time Star has got itself involved in the league directly. Earlier, it had formed a joint venture (JV) with IMG Reliance to start the Indian Super League (ISL), a franchise-based football league.

Star India CEO Uday Shankar explained that the broadcaster’s vision is to create an even more favourable ecosystem for the great Indian sport of kabaddi and build on its successful launch.

“The investment, completely in sync with Star’s aim to spawn a multi-sport culture in the country, will further help in nurturing India’s sporting talent. We are totally committed to abiding with the vision of Mashal management and all stakeholders of Pro Kabaddi, and will further develop the league in the upcoming second season,” Shankar stated.

Apart from Anand Mahindra, sports commentator Charu Sharma and Lex & Legal Services’ Rajiv Luthra are the other shareholders in the company. Adman Piyush Pandey is an advisor for the sports management company.

Mashal Sports has acquired the rights to organise the league for a period of 10 years from International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) with an option to renew it further.

World Sport Group (WSG) was the official commercial and event partner while Ogilvy & Mather was the creative partner for the season 1 of the league.

The second season of Pro Kabaddi League takes place in July.

Mashal Sports was advised by Luthra and Luthra Law Offices in the transaction, while Star was advised by AZB & Partners, Mumbai.

The Pro Kabaddi League 2014 had attracted 435 million viewers over the 37-day event. It was the second most viewed sporting event in the country after Indian Premier League (IPL), which attracted 552 million.

Star has been on an acquisition spree. Earlier, it had acquired the broadcast business of Maa TV Network. It had also snapped up entertainment magazine Screen and converted it into a digital-only product to synergise with its video-on-demand platform Hotstar.