There are some franchises in the Indian Premier League that have not won a single title despite being there right from the tournament’s inaugural season in 2008 and despite boasting a number of stars over the years. Enter Gujarat Titans, who overcame the odds and managed to win their maiden title in their very first season, which was this year in 2022.
Gujarat Titans owner made shrewdly – if a little unpopular – appointments by installing Ashish Nehra as their head coach despite him never being in that position before. They then doubled up on their penchant for risks by making Hardik Pandya their captain, even though the all-rounder had had his ups and downs the past few years and was actually released by Mumbai Indians.
The moves obviously paid off in grand fashion, and that makes one wonder who are Gujarat Titans owners and why their strategies have worked instantly.
Gujarat Titans Owner Name
It was in August 2021 that the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) issued a tender for two new IPL teams. Initially, as many as 22 teams showed interest but only six made it to the shortlist, from which Irelia Company Pte Ltd, whose parent is CVC Capital Partners, was awarded the rights for a sum of Rss5625 or $700 million. This is how they earned the privilege to become Gujarat Titans' owners. Interestingly, CVC beat Manchester United owners, the Glazer family, to win Gujarat Titans’ rights, which should give an idea of their financial clout.
|Team Name||Gujarat Titans|
|Current Owner||Steve Koltes, Donald Mackenzie, Rolly van Rappard|
|Head Coach||Ashish Nehra|
What is CVC Capital Partners and why did they become the owner of Gujarat Titans?
CVC Capital Partners is a private equity and investment advisory firm that is headquartered in Luxembourg. It was formed after several Citibank employees spun out and teamed up in 1981, which means it has been in the investment business for a whopping 41 years now.
The firm says it has 25 offices all over the world but the true extent of CVC Capital Partners’ size cannot be estimated by its geographical presence but by the overall magnitude of its assets. CVC claims to have €125 billion of assets under its management and €157 billion in secured commitments.
Where does it get its funding from and who invests with CVC?
According to the CVC website, it manages the funds for more than 500 of the “highest quality, blue chip clients” from all over the world. Among these clients are high-net-worth individuals as well as institutions, which often entrust CVC with their employees’ pension funds.
The sporting journey of the owner of Gujarat Titans
This is obviously not CVC’s first foray into sports. Prior to becoming Gujarat Titans owner, they also had a foot in Formula One, football, rugby, and other competitions. For instance, it acquired a majority stake in Formula One Group in 2006. Keep in mind that they weren’t the owners of a team in Formula One but actually had the entire Formula One’s commercial rights under their control.
However, the decade (2006-2017) Formula One spent under CVC ownership is not fondly remembered by the critics. In fact, famed motorsport manager Robert Fernley had once accused CVC of “raping the sport”. Fernley, who once was the deputy team principal of Vijay Mallya’s Force India, said that CVC only wanted to extract as much money out of F1 as they could have and cared little for the sport’s well-being.
Furthermore, this also wasn’t their first attempt to buy an IPL franchise. They had previously negotiated with Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals as well but nothing came of it. By the time CVC sold F1 to Liberty Media, the sport was thought to have been rendered poorer, even if the group’s own pockets were full. British newspaper The Guardian went on to say that CVC was arguably the biggest winner in the history of Formula One, even bigger than F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
In a similar sort of move in August 2021, CVC Capital Partners acquired a 10% stake in Spanish La Liga’s TV rights for a sum of €2.7 billion. It also promised to reinvest billions into the league for the game’s overall improvement in the country. However, the Spanish Football Association dubbed the deal “appalling and regrettable for the future of all Spanish football”.
Spanish giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were the two of only four clubs that did not agree to the deal and opted out. Madrid even warned of legal action against LaLiga president Javier Tebas and CVC while Barca said the amount of money paid by CVC was not in line with the duration of years it would enjoy a share of the pie.
CVC Capital Partners ownership in other sports apart from Gujarat Titans
CVC Capital Partners also owned Dorna Sports – the firm that owns the commercial rights of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, much like what Formula One Group does for F1. It acquired Dorna in 1998 for $80 million and so when in 2005 it was in the process of acquiring Formula One Group, there were concerns about its monopoly on both the premier four and two-wheel sports. The European Commission decided that CVC could acquire F1 only if it offloaded Dorna, which it did for a whopping $487 million.
In September 2018, the investment firm had also attempted to acquire a majority share in Premiership Rugby for £275m but the member clubs rejected the offer. However, a minority stake of 27% was eventually sold to CVC for £200m a month later.
CVC Capitals Partners is also known to have invested in the international volleyball federation as well as the NBA franchise San Antonio Spurs.
From all, it seems clear that the business model of CVC Capital Partners is to invest in fast-growing sports and leagues, make strategic investments, raise their profile, and eventually flip for a much higher sum than what they paid for it. They did it with F1 and Dorna, and might eventually do the same in the IPL. It means that they may not stay Gujarat Titans owner for a long time.