Smaaash Bags a Bowling Ally
Mumbai: Smaaash Entertainment, the sports-based entertainment company co-owned by Shripal Morakhia and former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, is set to acquire bluO Entertainment, run by multiplex operator PVR, for ₹ 86 crore. Smaaash has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition with PVR, which own 51% in the bowling format, and Major Cineplex Group of Thailand, which has 49%. “The sale of bluO is in line with our strategy to divest all non-core assets and focus on our core cinema exhibition business,” Ajay Bijli, chairman, PVR, said. “It is also reflective of the value embedded in our core assets and demonstrates our commitment to increase shareholder value and provide management a more focused approach for enhancing value in the exhibition business.”
The acquisition adds six centres (approximately 2,10,000 sqft) across five cities to Smaaash’s seven centers in India and one in Minneapolis in the United States. It will double the area under Smaaash management in India from 2,76,000 square feet to approximately around 6,00,000 square feet.
The bluO centres will operate under the Smaaash brand. Two more centres are expected to open shortly. Smaaash will introduce its signature games at all bluO centres, which only had bowling before.
“The strategic acquisition of bluO is a significant step in doubling Smaaash’s scale and outreach in India’s fast-growing retail entertainment space,” Smaaash Entertainment chief imagination officer Shripal Morakhia said. The synergies between both the brands are symbiotic in creating a network of centres in key cities with a focus on wholesome sports, active life, and adventure for urban citizens, he said. “bluO’s premium locations, infrastructure and F&B offerings, coupled with Smaaash’s leadership in innovation with new technology and virtual reality, will fill a muchneeded gap for experiential entertainment in our country,” Morakhia said.
EY acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the shareholders of PVR bluO for the transaction.
Other shareholders of Smaaash include Fidelis World, and Bennett Coleman & Co (BCCL), which owns and publishes The Economic Times.